God is in the darkness, as much as in the light. God is in the suffering, as much as in the rejoicing. God is in the brokenness and pain, as much as in the healing (whatever form that healing takes).
My own perspective on darkness and the God who inhabits it has been transformed not only by reading and re-reading John of the Cross, but also by two more contemporary books: “Dazzling Darkness” by Rachel Mann, and “Learning to Walk in the Dark” by Barbara Brown Taylor. I would thoroughly recommend both.
It is all too easy to say, perhaps even to believe, that God is present even in the darkness. But that is very different from saying, let alone believing, that God is present just as much in darkness as in light, no more and no less. Truly “darkness and light are both alike to [God]”. (Psalm 139.12)
Which is not to say that God does not take our suffering, our darkness seriously, but quite the reverse. God is totally present in – and to – all situations, not more so in the light, nor more so in the dark. There are times when it is very difficult, even impossible to see God’s presence in what we experience. Those are the times when we learn to perceive God in a new, different, perhaps deeper way – to “walk in the dark” indeed.
This year for Advent Book Club we are reading “Unearthly Beauty” by Magdalen Smith. Join in on Facebook or Twitter using #AdventBookClub.