Have you ever explored a cave?
Once I was on a youth trip in the mountains, and the leader took us to a cave for an object lesson. I had never been in a cave before. He went before us with his flashlight, talking along the way, until we reached an open area. He had us all sit down, and then he turned off his light.
I’m not particularly afraid of the dark, but this was DARK. Can’t-see-a-thing dark. Oppressing dark.
From Darkness to Light
Have you ever been there? Have you been so sad, down, depressed, or alone, that you felt an oppressing darkness? Sometimes we may even feel that God has abandoned us to the dark.
“You have put me in the darkest pit, in the darkest depths. Your wrath lies heavily upon me; you have overwhelmed me with all your waves. You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; my eyes are dim with grief” (Psalm 88:6-9a, NIV 84).
Even David, a man after God’s own heart, sometimes felt that God had left him in the dark.
Sadness, Loneliness, and Fear
Sadness and depression are a natural part of our human condition. There will be times of sorrow and times of great joy (Ecclesiastes 3:4). But oftentimes in the darkness, it’s difficult to find our way out.
After turning off the flashlight in the cave that day, the leader talked to us about what it’s like to live in darkness. It’s a scary place. For people who don’t know the Lord, it’s especially difficult, because they don’t have the hope and security of the Word of God to guide them out of the cave.
Our leader on this trip then asked us to find our way out of the cave, one-by-one. Alone. I’ll admit, that was scarier to me than the darkness itself. I could stand the darkness as long as there were people with me, but as soon as I stood to take my turn exiting the cave alone, I began to panic. I felt as if the walls were closing in around me.
Many people all around us feel this fear. They are in the darkest pit, and they feel all alone. They need us to come alongside them, take them by the hand, and show them the way.
And they need the Word of God.
As I was making my way out of the cave that day–shaking, sweating, and close to tears–I heard the leader begin to recite Psalm 139. It’s a beautiful poem of David that I immediately recognized. As soon as I heard those words, I began to feel God’s presence with me and grow peaceful and confident. I knew that I would find my way out.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there you hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12).
The farther I walked, the more his voice faded; but then the room around me began to lighten. The dark changed to a faded gray, and soon I could see the mouth of the cave. As I reached the opening, there stood the other camp leader, arm stretched out to me.
What a beautiful picture of the love and truth of the gospel!
Does God sometimes allow us to go through darkness and depression? It’s a natural part of our fallen world and the human condition, but God will use that experience to drive us to Him if we are willing.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
Our God will come for us. He will rescue us out of the pit and the darkness.
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:16-19).
“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1).
The entire gospel message is that the world was in darkness, and Light came into the world.
“‘I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness'” (John 12:46).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
No matter how down you may feel right now, please know that even David, a Spirit-filled man of God, knew what depression felt like. He knew the pain of grief, the sorrow of sin, and the heartache of rejection. But he also knew where to turn.
“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).
Turn to God in your time of sadness. Surrender your pain to the One who has been there. Jesus can take your brokenness and make something beautiful out of it. It may take a little time, but you can trust that the One Who wraps Himself in light (Psalm 104:2) has the power to lead you out of darkness.
He is faithful. And He delights in making all things new.