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Meeting God in Darkness

“And the people stood at a distance while Moses approached the deep darkness where God was” (Exod. 20:21). We usually associate God with light. He drives out darkness. Yet, Moses entered the dark cloud where he met God. The greatest revelation of God Moses received came in the midst of thick darkness. God was there even in the darkness. Do we expect to find God in the darkness? Often, we look for Him to show up and deliver us from our darkest moments, but do we seek to find Him in it? It’s interesting that Exodus describes God as being in the dark cloud, and Moses entered, and there he met God. There is a profoundness about this verse. When we find ourselves or others in a period of darkness—whether a period of difficulty, uncertainty, or despair—our typical response is to prescribe two Bible verses, rest, and you’ll feel better in the morning. This is more than that: God resides even in the darkness, and we can find Him there. The psalmist asked, “Where can I go from Your Spirit, and where can I flee from Your presence? If I rise to the heavens, You are there, and if I make my bed in Sheol, there You are” (139:7-8). Do we expect to find God in our depths? Not as a means of escape, but do we allow ourselves to find Him in our darkest moments as an opportunity for revelation? Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, speaks about two spiritual concepts: consolation and desolation. He states: “I call consolation every increase of hope, faith, and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.” Desolation, of course, is everything contrary to consolation. Neither consolation or desolation refers to our external circumstances; they both pertain to inner attitudes where our focus is God. Ignatius recognized that we could find ourselves in a period of darkness but still experience the inner comfort and support of being close toGod. “Moses approached the deep darkness where God was.” When we realize that God resides also in the darkness, then we can find ourselves expecting to meet Him there, looking to Him for consolation, and even gaining a new revelation of Him. And this is an incredible realization—God is there even in our darkest moments.

Father, even in the midst of my darkest moments, help me to experience Your presence and to trust You to provide the consolation, my soul, longs for. Amen

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