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When she was little, one of my granddaughters was afraid of the dark. She needed a night-light on in her room, or the hall light on with her door cracked open, in order to fall asleep. The dark made her feel insecure and apprehensive. Because there are less distractions in the dark, her imagination seemed to take off so that her fears loomed larger.
As our world seems to grow darker and darker, devoid of the light of truth and justice and righteousness … devoid of faith in God … many of us, like my granddaughter, are also afraid of the dark. Not the dark of night, but the dark times in life when pressures, problems, pain and even persecution envelope us in a fog of fear, confusion or depression—those spiritually dark times when God seems far away.
If you are one of those presently experiencing darkness, and the fear that can often come with it, I want to encourage you. God is active in the dark!
God Is Present in the Darkness
- What is the current darkness that you are experiencing?
- What comfort or encouragement do you receive from the following verses? Write out the specific phrases, then explain in your own words why they are meaningful. Genesis 1:2; Exodus 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12; Psalm 23:4; 97:2; 139:11-12.
- Who do you know that is afraid of the “dark?” Which of these verses will you share with him or her?
- What are some of the treasures to be found in the darkness? See Isaiah 45:3; Psalm 63:6-8; Exodus 16:10; Mark 9:7.
God Changes Things in the Darkness
- Describe the change in the Israelites’ circumstances that took place at night, in Exodus 14:19-22. For the full context, see Exodus 14:1-31.
- What seems to be blocking your path? Could God be removing it in the darkness? How did God’s relationship with people change radically one night? See Luke 2:1-15.
- Describe the change that the shepherds witnessed firsthand. Read Luke 2:16-20 with Philippians 2:5-7.
- If God entered time and space as a baby at night, why do you think He can’t enter into your darkness, bringing peace and joy?
- Comparing John 20:20 with Luke 24:1-8, describe the history-splitting change that took place at night.
- How is this historic change still causing change today? Ephesians 1:19-23; Romans 10:9-10; 8:5-12.
- From the following verses, describe the changes that took place at night. Daniel 6:16-22; Acts 12:5-11; 16:22-34.
- What “prison” holds you captive? What binds or hinders you from serving God? Could God now be at work to set you free even though you see no outward evidence?
God Speaks in the Darkness
- Read Genesis 27:41-28:22. Describe Jacob’s circumstances as well as what his emotional state could have been in Genesis 28:11.
- How did his circumstances remain somewhat the same, but his emotional and spiritual state change during the night? What brought about the change?
- How did God change Samuel one night from a boy to a prophet? What was the key to the change? See 1 Samuel 3:1-21.
- What would Samuel have missed if he had refused to get up at night to listen to God’s Word because he was too tired?
- Is it possible that you would discover more of your life’s purpose if you spent time reading your Bible, listening for the voice of God to speak to you through it? Could God be calling you to read your Bible in the night, either in the midst of your difficult circumstances, or in the literal night as you stay up later or rise earlier in order to spend time with Him?
- What radical truth did Nicodemus learn when Jesus talked to him at night? Read John 3:1-8.
- When was the last time you “heard” God’s voice, either during the night, or when you were going through a difficult time?
- Why do you think God speaks to us in the darkness?
If you are presently living in the darkness …
of an obstacle blocking your progress,
of a humanly hopeless situation,
of the injustice of racial prejudice,
of death or disease or divorce,
of prison walls that bind or suffocate you,
of fear or failure or frustration,
of doubt or danger,
of confusion or depression …
Be assured. God is with you, He will change things, and He has a Word for you. So, go ahead. Turn on the Light! ©2021 Anne Graham Lotz
This article is adapted from a study originally published in October 2012.
Anne Graham Lotz has proclaimed God’s Word worldwide for more than 40 years. Her newest book, which she co-authored with her daughter Rachel-Ruth Wright, is “Jesus Followers: Real-Life Lessons for Igniting Faith in the Next Generation.” It is available from major booksellers online.