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The dark side

"For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open." Luke 8. 17

Life in a fallen world is full of compromise and contradiction. How we wish it were not so. We long for clarity, purity, integrity. But life as we know it is just not like that. Even what we encounter in the Bible sometimes flies in the face of our idealistic longing: whether that is God ordering the annihilation of the Canaanites, or Jesus announcing that he has come with a sword...

I used to be scared of the dark. Then I spent a season of my life in a community which flourished during the dark hours and the night became my friend. All the while I remained aware that what is concealed from our fellow humans is clear as light to God. One day the truth about us will be revealed. I trust that, on that day, we will understand the merit of those aspects of God that we struggle to reconcile with what we believe about him now.

Creation needs the night-time in order to flourish. The land rests and nocturnal animals go about their business. If we take the time to adjust our eyes, we can develop night vision and reduce the clumsiness with which we move around in the dark. In this way we can acquire an appreciation for what was previously beyond our ken: a scary place of mystery and shadows, like the underwater environment.

Yet both turn out to be treasure troves of wonder and discovery. Far from contradicting the bright side of God's creation, they reveal its richness. Cultivating this awareness in our devotional lives promises to unlock truths about ourselves and God that were previously off-limits. That may seem like a scary prospect, like the dark or the deep sea. But think what fresh insights and discoveries beckon. And we don't have to go there alone!

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