Fear of the Dark

Face down in the gravel was a perfect time for me to be reminded humans can’t see in the dark. We need help.

On vacation in Hawaii earlier this year, my husband and I awoke in the predawn hour to hike to the top of a cliff. We were going to watch the sunrise over the ocean. A glorious start to a glorious day, no doubt.

A light breeze carried the scent of the ocean and the steady cadence of the waves rushing against the shore made our stroll seem quite romantic and a bit adventuresome. Overhead the sky was jeweled with thousands of flickering stars. No moon in sight and the sun hadn’t yet arose.

Everything was going wonderfully well on our hike in the dark… until it wasn’t.

The small boulder unseen in the dark took my feet completely out from under me, flipping me over it to land face first in the gravel. The impact knocked the wind from my chest as my face and upper body ground across the sharp stone chips of the path. My sweet husband had me on my feet, almost before I knew what had just happened. The panic in his voice made led me to believe that while I felt pretty bad, I must look a lot worse. I worked to catch my breath while he worked to remove the gravel from my deeply exfoliated and bleeding face. Once I got him calmed down, we continued on-- a bit more carefully this time.

And we still made it to the top in plenty of time to catch the sunrise.

Most people would have avoided this possible catastrophe by taking a flashlight, but if you know us, you know we’re not most people. Lesson learned.

Fear of the darkness is one of the most common fears we experience--for good reason. In the darkness, we can’t see what’s around us and can trip over things like small boulders in our path. Where I live I wouldn’t dare walk around in the dark for fear of stepping on a snake. There are things in the dark that can hurt us.

The first thing people do when they enter a dark room is turn on the light. More violent crimes are committed in the darkness than the daylight. Evil lurks in the dark.

People who are concerned about their safety don’t walk down dark alleys in the middle of the night.

We spend money on security lights, nightlights, and streetlights. We install motion detecting lights in our yards and lights on our key chains. We do what we can to stay safe physically— all while letting our spiritual being run straight into darkness.

Those long, dark alleys we wouldn’t dare walk down physically are the same ones we send our souls down without a thought to the danger that prowls there. We do it by not guarding what we allow ourselves to see or listen too. We do it by the places we let our mind wander and the thoughts we choose to dwell on. And we do it when we let the cares of this world take the place of the truth of God’s promises in our hearts.

We might wonder why God didn’t just give us the same night vision He gave to some other mammals. I don’t think He withheld it so we’d invent the light bulb. After all, if man made it then by the acts of man it can be taken away. I think He had something more lasting in mind.

I believe there is night and day, dark and light, to teach us. There is a lesson to us in knowing that we can’t see in the dark. Wisdom tells us this. It keeps us safe by advising us to avoid dark places, so we don’t get hurt. An awareness that we can't see in the tangible darkness should be an example to us that we can't see in the spiritual darkness either. While physical darkness can bring us harm, there is a spiritual darkness with an even greater power to destroy and kill.

The fear of the physical darkness sends us in search of the light switch, yet we play with spiritual darkness as though it were as harmless as child’s toy.

Unfortunately, the wounds we receive by wandering through spiritual darkness are much harder to heal. They can lead to spiritual death.

The injury to my face quickly healed thanks to some antibiotic salve, salty air, and plenty of sunlight. The fact wounds in my soul don’t heal as easily lets me know where the real danger lies.

Consider the hurt places in your soul, the wounds that just won’t heal. What role did an absence of light—of the Light—play in causing those wounds or in preventing their healing?

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NKJV)

Fear of the dark can be a healthy fear when it leads us to the light instead. When it causes us to stop and consider what dark and dangerous alleyways we are about to send our hearts, minds, and souls down, and instead send them running straight to Jesus.

Now turn on the Light and refuse to wander down dark alleys.

Use this week to think about the places in your spiritual life where you may have strayed from--or maybe you deliberately walked away from-- the Light. How is this harming your soul and how can you find healing? How is it affecting those around you?

To thank you for your help in sharing these messages, I want to share with you something I recently fell in love with-- The Chosen, Season 1. Everyone who subscribes to my email between now and Sept 11, 2020 will automatically be entered in a drawing (US residents only) to receive the DVD of season 1. If you're already a subscriber, then refer a friend who subscribes and receive 2 entries! (Just be sure you or your friend let me know you referred them.)

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