The Right Kind of Fear

Have you ever been afraid of the dark? When I was a child, I had to have some form of nightlight in my room to penetrate the darkness. I wanted the door cracked open so I knew I could get to my parents quickly if needed. The dark veiled what I could see in the daylight, and I wanted the comfort of a soft glow to illuminate the room. The darkness cloaks the comforts of what we know. It is the unknown that we fear when we are in the dark. 

While a nightlight can calm the fears of a worried child's heart, there are seasons similar to the darkness we experience at night that need light to penetrate the darkness of our souls. Whether it be a season of grief, waywardness, depression, anxiety, doubt, or fear, darkness can sweep over our soul in an instant and put out the light that was once there. We have all experienced a "dark night of the soul" or we will in the future. It is a byproduct of this fallen world that we live in. 

Satan's goal is to keep us afraid of the dark. He wants us to fear what can't be seen and to question God's goodness when our eyes only see dimly what is in front of us. But we cannot fear what God already knows, because His grace is sufficient, even in the darkness. 

In Psalm 139, David described the darkness as completely covering him, but he found great comfort in this: the darkness is as light with the Lord. His words read this way:

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. Psalm 139:11-12

What we fear when we are in a season of darkness is often fear itself. Fear can be paralyzing. The "what if’s" can consume our hearts in a moment. One time I tried calling my husband several times and couldn’t get ahold of him. I panicked and started calling people who were with him and when he drove up minutes later I burst into tears! I allowed that fear to consume my thoughts instead of resting in God’s grace and thinking logically.

We fear what can't be seen and what "could be" and forget that God can see even in the darkest of darks and will bring us through. The darkness cannot cloak the believer forever, because with Christ in us, we have victory over the dark because of the cross. 

God is not afraid of the dark. He is the creator of the dark as well as the light. As a matter of fact, the very first thing God created was light, and seeing that the light was good, God "separated the light from the darkness." (Genesis 1:3-4) He is Author of the light and Author of the dark. In John 1:4-5, Jesus Christ is described in this way, "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." Did you see that? In Jesus was the light of men. He came to this dark world to overcome the darkness. Though the darkness try to have victory, ultimately the light of Christ comes shining brilliantly in the dark places with hope. 

The Right Kind of Fear

Ultimately, we are to fear the Lord, not the dark. God made the light and the dark, and He sent Jesus into the world to overcome the darkness. As believers, we have hope in Him, and we have Him on our side! (Psalm 118:6) There is nothing that man could do to you to harm your soul when you are in Christ. There is no darkness that could cover you and separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). In just one moment, God could flip on the light switch in our dark nights and bring light to the darkness. When we are in the dark, our job is to fear the Lord and trust Him to guide us and bring light.

When Jesus died on the cross, darkness covered the land (Matthew 27:45). The sun’s light went out when the Son breathed his last. Even creation was testifying to the cross. But three days later the Son rose again, conquering death and darkness. He came to the disciples with this message: Do not be afraid (Matthew 28:10, excerpt). Jesus came to conquer the darkness so we could live in the light. This is the hope that we have this Good Friday. This is what makes Christ's brokenness on the cross "good." Christ was broken so we could be mended. This is the gospel that keeps us from being consumed by the darkness, and instead consumes us in God's unending grace (Lamentations 3:21-23).

Don’t fear the dark, fear the Lord, and rest in His sovereign grace! Because even when your eyes can't see and your heart can't feel, God is still on His throne, and He can see the Son that will be rising over your dark night with Light that never ceases to shine. 

fearing the Lord, not the dark,

Gretchen