Walking Through The Darkness

Date: September 11, 2023

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Genesis 1:3-5


Have you ever worked the night shift?  Getting used to the schedule isn’t much fun.  It means eating supper and going to bed when everybody else is eating breakfast and getting ready for the day.  Days and nights are reversed.  It means sleeping when others are awake, working when others are playing, watching the moon instead of the sun, working in the dark instead of the day.  It’s different.  Not everybody can take it.  Too lonely, too dark, too much of a difficult thing.

Yet life would be much more difficult for everyone if it were not for those who work the night shift—the cop who patrols the warehouses and dark streets from midnight to dawn, the nurse who makes her lonely rounds dispensing care and encouragement for those whose suffering make the dawn a long ways away, the folks who stock the shelves of grocery stores while others sleep, the taxi driver who’s there to meet the 3 a.m. flight, as well as the pilot who stayed awake while his passengers slept.

Some love the night shift; others hate it.  I know one thing:  the darkness of the night shift seems to intensify everything.  It’s darker, it’s quieter, it’s lonelier, it’s longer.  Sixty minutes can seem as long as an entire afternoon with daylight.  During the night shift everything is intensified including sounds:  the creak of the floor, the noise of the refrigerator, the ticking of the clock, even the whisper of voices or sounds penetrating the darkness.

Question:  Does God work the night shift?  You bet He does.  In a book entitled, God Works the Night Shift, Ron Mehl said that we often hear the voice of God speaking to us in the quietness of the night when his voice is otherwise drowned out by the din and noise of traffic, the cries of children clamoring for our time, the demands of business and earning a living, to say nothing of the noise of TV and lure of the Internet.         C. S. Lewis used to say that pain is God’s amplifier, making us hear His voice; and that well may be true, but darkness is His attention-getter.  Sound always seems to be heard more readily over water, and it’s a sure thing that in darkness you hear God’s voice in ways that simply aren’t duplicated in the light.

Darkness intensifies your pain, your suffering, your loneliness.  In his book, Mehl writes, “Whether you are young or old, a baby believer or a seasoned saint, always–always–always remember, there is just one thing going on in whatever hardships you’re enduring right now:  God is working in the dark and He is doing one thing—He’s shaping you to resemble the Prince of Peace, the Bright and Morning Star.”

It is not only the absence of sunshine that makes for darkness in our lives; it is also the difficulties, the suffering, the results of our stupid mistakes, the losses we sustain, that makes for darkness.  It is also then that we can hear God’s voice bringing comfort, encouragement and, at times, assurance.  In the darkness listen to His voice.

Long ago David wrote, “Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4).  He could well have written, “He who pledged to keep you during the night shift will never get drowsy or forget you in the darkness which troubles your life.”  It’s true, friend.

We learn some strong lessons about ourselves and about God’s care in the darkness, and when the dawn of sunlight begins to pierce the eastern sky, we’re better men and women because of what we’ve been through.

Of that, I am sure. I’ve been there!

Resource reading: Genesis 1:1-27.