Think about the darkest place you have ever been in. A place where you couldn’t see anything in front or behind you – a place where you couldn’t touch or feel anything – a place you had no idea where you were or which way to go - where you couldn’t see any light pointing the way out. Have you ever been in a place like this?
I remember an experience like this many years ago. My family was on a camping trip with some friends in northern California. We decided to go on an exploration adventure to some amazing caves we had heard about earlier. After building up this great adventure with the kids, we finally arrived at the cave sight in the middle of nowhere. As we prepared to begin our adventure, I realized we had no flashlights with us. Not wanting to disappoint the kids, I noticed a couple of college girls who were getting ready to enter the caves. They had a flashlight and I asked if we could tag along with them. Big mistake!
When we first entered the cave, all was good. There was the light from the entrance behind us and the girls with the flashlight in front of us. However, as we proceeded deeper into the cave, the light behind us faded and the light from the girls disappeared into the darkness. It soon became really dark. I mean pitch black ultra-dark.
The kids began to panic and the moms became really stressed. And, for a moment, I started to panic and be anxious myself. I imagined what the news story would be – “Man leads family into cave without a flashlight and they all die from exposure.” I remember feeling hopeless and somewhat abandoned as I cried out to the Lord not to let us die in this cave because of my stupid decision.
Then I saw a faint light in the distance that grew stronger and stronger. The girls realized they had left us behind and came back to help us. They had not abandoned us, and more importantly, God had not abandoned us.
As I thought about this memory from long ago, it struck me that this was an illustration of our journey through this life. All of us have experienced dark times in our lives. Those times when we felt hopeless, anxious, alone and abandoned. Recall your darkest failure – your most painful betrayal – walking through a frightening illness – or maybe you have tried to hide in the darkness, for a while, thinking that God wouldn’t be able to see you.
While you remember those dark painful memories, there is one absolute that I know is true no matter what your circumstance. God is always with you. Even in those darkest moments of your life, God never abandons you and you are never alone.
David talks about this very thing in Psalm 139:11-12. He says the darkness may have “bruised” him, but he was never apart from, concealed from or abandoned by God. This is always true because darkness and light are the same to God. He is always omniscient and omnipresent. The Psalmist makes it really clear that there is nowhere in the universe that God will not love and hold the one who believes in Him. There is nowhere too dark that God cannot see.
The thought that darkness cannot conceal us from God brought to David’s mind the meditation he penned in the verses of Psalm 139 that follow (verses 13-18). God knew everything about him when he was formed in his mother’s womb. Since God creates people, He knows every minute detail about them and He is with them wherever they go. The last verse in this meditation paragraph (verse 18) says that God has ordained all our days on this earth. All our days are written in God’s book, even before they came to be in existence. God knows everything and is in control of everything, even our darkest moments.
Since God is present with us at all times (omnipresent) and He knows everything before it occurs (omniscient) and He is in control of everything (omnipotent), we can trust that He will not abandon us in the dark times in our lives. He has promised to guide us, even if it is a tiny glimmer of light in the distance of the pitch black ultra-dark cave you are in right now.