Darkness can be scary. There are many stories of WWII, Korea and Vietnam War pilots whose cockpits went dark during a night landing on a carrier because they had taken fire or the electrical systems of their planes went out. How exactly is one supposed to land an aircraft on a blacked-out carrier at night without instruments!?!
At first, all they might have seen was black, but many found a blessing in the darkness. Once their eyes
adjusted, they could see a warm bluish-green glow below, guiding them towards their floating runway. While the lights were on, they couldn’t see the bioluminescent plankton, which had been churned up by the carrier’s props, lighting up the coal dark ocean. These normally unnoticed creatures had lit the carrier’s course and guided the pilots to a safe landing.
Such plankton are present throughout the oceans, yet most people have never observed them. Trillions of these tiny beings are alive right now, floating in and illuminating otherwise dark waters. But one has to be immersed in darkness to see them glimmering in the dark. If you would like to see pictures or read more about bioluminescent plankton, here’s a link to a recent National Geographic article about them.
These normally unnoticed and taken for granted organisms serve as a reminder that most people are unaware of the light that surrounds us when life becomes dark. All experience times of darkness which can come in the form of confusion or loneliness, sickness and pain, temptation, suffering or death. Yet Christians trod through difficult and trying times with paths lit by God’s love.
“Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
He is gracious, merciful, and righteous” (Psalm 112:4 ESV).
As a matter of fact, it is often the darkness we experience that reveals the light of God’s love to us. God has lightened our darkness by giving us a glimpse of His power over our darkness in the resurrection and ascension of Christ.
Even though most in the world are unaware of the hope God has given His chosen ones in Christ (just as most are unaware of the beauty of microscopic bioluminescent plankton afloat in the ocean), we don’t have to wait until we are in heaven for our spiritual darkness to be enlightened. We have already seen the light of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ. God has also given us His Holy Spirit to show us His way in this dark world.
By faith, we see that our future is not confined to our depressed thoughts or limited to a dark, cold box or funeral urn. Instead, we have been given life that will never end in a place so bright with God’s love that the misery we experience in this life will be transformed into pure joy. Seeing God face to face, we will then understand how God used the dark times in our life, and even gaps in our understanding, to draw us closer to Himself.
Sure, bad things happen and there is often much we don’t understand, but we know God is at work in it all. Life’s darkness becomes compounded when we don’t always have the answer to the questions of “how” and “why” things happen in life. But, like those inexperienced pilots who found a blessing in darkness, Christians are most blessed when their personal darkness is enlightened with the light of Christ.