Journalists are always hunting for new ideas and inspiration. Among my favorite sources are cartoons in the daily comic section of the newspaper. Sometimes the simplest humor can reveal very profound truth.
A recent example was in the cartoon, “Family Circus,” created by Bil Keane and now written and illustrated by his son, Jeff. Little Dolly looks out the window to the nighttime sky and tells her infant brother, “The sun is there, PJ. You just can’t see it ‘cause it’s behind all the dark.”
We know this to be true for the natural world. Even when it’s dark, the sun hasn’t gone away. The earth has rotated, so the sun's out of view but remains where it always has been. We’ve moved, but it hasn’t. Wait a while and the sun will appear again, where it was all the time.
The same is true of spiritually. Sometimes circumstances of our lives grow dark, due to illness, tragedy, hardships of many kinds. It seems like God has disappeared, left the building like Elvis, flown the coop. He hasn’t; He’s still there. But in our personal darkness, overwhelmed by pain, grief, fear or confusion, we can’t find Him. God seems to be “behind all the dark.”
We’ve all experienced the darkness in one way or another. It’s frightening, perplexing, disheartening. God is good, God is love, right? Then why does He allow it to hurt so much? I’ve had friends whose difficulties have dwarfed my own: the passing of a grandmother and two of her grandchildren in a tragic accident; parents enduring the mournful experience of burying their adult children; friends forced to declare bankruptcy due to circumstances beyond their control.
What do we do at such times when God seems “behind all the dark”? Countless books have been written on this subject from many perspectives, and I won’t be so foolish as to attempt to address the question in a few hundred words. Except to say that just as we have full confidence that after a long, dark night the sun will reappear, we who follow Jesus Christ also have the assurance He will re-emerge from the dark to illuminate our way.
I couldn’t begin to quote all the biblical passages that promise this, but I’ll cite a couple of my favorites. Psalm 84:11-12 declares, “the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk (in Christ) is blameless. O Lord almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
Another passage talks about our capacity – through the power of Christ – to accomplish things we can’t do in our own strength. “Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).
Just as the sun rises each morning, dispelling the thick darkness of the preceding night, Jesus comes to cast away the darkness of oppressive circumstances that can envelop us. This is true not only for the moment, but also for eternity to come: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Revelation 21:23).