Tag Archives: Theology

Treasure in the Dark?

Since the arrival of my son, I’ve seen more hours of darkness than usual, and it got me thinking about whether darkness is all bad. There is something about those silent hours in the dead of night that have a kind of peace to them (except when the baby is screaming!)

So often, darkness is demonised, and yet we need it. We need the darkness of night as much as we need the light of day and many beautiful things have their beginnings in the darkness. As Barbara Taylor Brown writes in her excellent book “Learning to Walk in the Dark”

“New life starts in the dark whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb.”

It seems obvious when you think about it, Jesus wasn’t resurrected in the sunshine, but in the darkness of the tomb, flowers need the darkness of the ground to bloom, babies need the comforting darkness of the womb to grow before they face the light of the world.

Darkness wasn’t created, it’s an absence not a presence – but God didn’t eliminate it from the creation He called ‘good’. Perhaps it’s because, as Psalm 139 recounts, “Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day Darkness and light are alike to You.”

So I wonder if it’s time to rethink darkness, to the wonder and potential that it holds. The late poet Mary Oliver understood a little of this I think when she wrote the words:

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

What can we learn in the darkness, that we couldn’t learn in the light?

In the darkest days of depression, I learned to lean on God in ways I never would have done without it and I’m reminded of the things that are revealed in the darkness throughout the Bible.

Jonah in the darkness in the belly of the whale, David in the cave at Adullam – God transforms people in their darkness.

And I wonder what treasure can be found in whatever darkness you face? (Isaiah 43:5)

 

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Let There Be Light

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

Let there be light.

These words were the beginning of everything, the light came and God’s creative power was revealed in all its splendour for the first time.

They are some of the most powerful words in scripture – we cannot deny the power of light.

Sometimes its as comforting as a night light for a child, at others its a harsh glare of realisation.

In John’s gospel the account of Jesus coming to earth in human form begins with light.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Light bids us to wait in hope for the day when the light will shine in all its fullness.

Christmas tells us that the Light of the World was and is willing to descend into the darkness of our humanity for our sake and will not be extinguished by it.

Tim Keller writes that:

“He is a light for us when all other lights go out.”

I pray that this Christmas, whatever darkness you may face, that you feel God’s presence with you as we remember that the God who formed the stars descended to us to come close – and to draw us closer to Him.

I love my degree

I love my degree. 

I feel enormously privileged that I get to study the word of God, every day. That I get to sit with some of the world’s best theological scholars and just have a chat! That I get to be in a place where people care, about me, about my dreams and about my calling. 

I am writing an essay at the moment about the comfort of God. About how we can communicate the comfort of God to those struggling with mental illness, reading the Bible, what scholars have said about the Bible and how they have illuminated the text. 

I get to grapple with the text and work out how best to encourage and comfort those suffering. 

Of course there are times when I’ve been exhausted and tired and not really want to write another word! But still, I love my degree. 

I am excited about what is coming next – but I can say – without a doubt that these have been the most difficult, most wonderful years of my life. 

I love my degree. And I thank God that I’ve been able to do it!