When I was a child my father had a dark room in our basement. If I close my eyes I can almost smell the chemicals. I would spend time with him there as he would dip a seemingly blank sheet of paper into trays of chemicals. As a child I was not interested in the particulars of the chemicals or the mechanism by which it worked. I just knew my loving father was creating something from nothing in darkness.
I remember not being able to discern what the picture would be until the process was complete and the light was turned on. I had to be very obedient and not turn the light on or open the door until he told me it was safe. If light entered at the wrong time it would over or under develop the photo and the perfection would have been lost.
I believe my Father creates His most magnificent, beautiful and miraculous masterpieces in what appears to be darkness. Yet darkness is not dark to God.
“Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and light are both alike to you.” Psalm 139:12
In Genesis we see God’s first work as He creates something out of nothing.
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Genesis 1:2
Hovering is defined as attending to and caring for; to keep lingering about; wait near at hand. As a mother, I understand this word well. When my children were infants I hovered. I was never far away enough that I would not know if they were hungry or tired or in need of changing. I waited near at hand. My oldest son, Emerson, might argue that I hover still.
From the very beginning of time and the written account of God, His presence in the darkness is assured. Not only that, it is not a passive presence. It is active. It is caring. It is tender. It is waiting.
Each of our lives began in the dark as God stitched us together in our mothers’ wombs. The progress is not perceptible on the outside but inside cells are dividing and organs are growing. Energy is being expended and growth is rapidly occurring. Yet outside of the dark womb the only evidence of growth is a slowly expanding belly.
My entire faith hinges upon a single event that occurred in complete darkness. Jesus’ resurrection took place in a cold, dark tomb meant for finality and death. As the Disciples scattered and hid in panic and fear, Jesus opened His eyes once again and saw nothing but darkness.
He tells me His perfect gifts are hidden in darkness.
In the darkroom of my soul, God is developing my picture. I am entirely unsure of what that picture will ultimately be, but I know it will be good. It will be glorious because I know the Hands of Him who holds me. Just because I can not see the progression does not mean it is not occurring. In the womb the progression, especially to the pregnant mother, is ever so gradual. In the tomb it was, I imagine, a split second. His eyes were closed and then they were opened. The amount of time to develop my picture is entirely at the discretion of my Father.
Still, at times I get anxious for the light to turn back on. I am ready to see the final product. God gently reminds me that my need for swiftness will not alter the time it takes for the picture to fully develop. Like the blank piece of photo paper soaking in developer, I let my faith drown me. I remember dark is not dark to my God.
I love spending time with my Father in His darkroom. If I close my eyes I can feel His Spirit. I don’t the mechanism by which He works, I just know my loving Father is creating something from nothing in darkness. He holds me gently and tenderly as the picture develops. He hovers. He tends to and cares for me. In His timing the light will be turned on and the brilliance of His unfailing love will leave me in awe of the masterpiece that came victoriously and triumphantly out of the darkness.