As a kid, I was a leader in 4H, a youth club that focused on developing responsible leaders. Often at district and state gatherings they would invite the same speaker and he had one speech. I think I heard it four times. It was the story of a poor guy who went to school, worked hard, got scholarships and then got a job that made him lots of money. The message: anyone can dream his dream and become a multi-milllionaire like he did. The movie "Secret of My Success" actually looked reasonable after hearing him talk.
But what happens when those dreams don't come true? What happens when the business fails? When you realize that marriage is harder than you thought? When kids make choices that are less than good? When expenses are always bigger than income, even when you follow the right budgeting plans?
What happens when ministry proves to be hard? When people don't respond to your preaching? When the church does not grow?
What happens when you look around and you are staring the darkness of the dark night in the face?
Often we have been told that there is something wrong with those in the dark night. (If there is one thing that people in the middle of a dark night experience do not need to hear it is the message that there is something wrong with them. They already know that.) Beyond that, we are given strategies and steps for getting out of the the dark. The goal: get out of the darkness so that you can be a "successful" Christian.
But what if the problem is not with the darkness itself, but with our assumptions about what is light and what is dark? What if we have bought into a lie that things which are really dark are light and that which is light is dark? As a result, we put our trust in dark things like possessions, position and power and when we have them, we assume that we are walking in the light. And when they are gone, we are faced with darkness.
Instead of trying to get rid of this supposed darkness and clamoring for those things that we assume to be light, God is inviting us to find him, the true light within the darkness. This requires us to slow down. It requires us to allow God to reshape our ability to see what true light is. He is not providing seven steps for getting out of the darkness. He is inviting us to sit with him in the reality of the lies that are dark and see what is truly light.