Finding God in the Darkness

February 21, 2015

Praising God when everything is going well–that’s one thing. But what about praising God, or even finding God, when life gets dark. Let’s face it, if you’ve lived long enough you’ll experience seasons of crushing, hopeless despair and wonder where God is in the midst of it. That’s why I’m glad to see AJ. Swoboda’s new book Glorious Dark, address this issue. I had the chance to interview him this week:

So most people picking up this book would find the two words of the title: Glorious and Dark to be incongruent. And yet you seem to make that case that there can be glory in the darkness of life. How so?

In the Bible “darkness” is an important image a serious reader can’t overlook. We find that the Hebrew term for darkness, arafel, is mentioned 15 times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. Oddly enough, over half of such references are directly connected to God’s presence. For example, we find this interplay in Exodus 20:21 when Moses enters into the arafel, the darkness, and within, meets with God. Oftentimes darkness is indicative of God’s presence—God is in the arafel.

The image rolls out even more in the New Testament. Jesus laid in a tomb of darkness on Holy Saturday. Yet within that penetrating darkness, a glorious resurrection would take place. It is true: “in God there is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn. 1:5) But the opposite isn’t true; God can enter the darkness and break through its hollow trappings. In anyone’s life, there are many things that seem hard, challenging, and “dark.” But the good news is that there, in the darkness, resurrection can happen.

Read the rest of the interview here: