And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mk 15:33)
It’s noon, but the sun isn’t beating down on you. I picture ominous clouds and a threatening darkness as three men slowly die by crucifixion on Golgotha. The passersby, chief priest and scribes have all left ahead of the storm, leaving Jesus and two robbers with a few soldiers who carry out the execution.
Dark clouds like that over my house are usually accompanied by alerts on my phone of severe thunderstorms in the area, lightning strikes, tornado warnings and instructions to seek cover. This is not the time to be outside. Golfers end their rounds early, roofers call it a day, surfers head in from the waves, lifeguards whistle everyone out of the pool, and I take the dog for a walk before the rain starts.
Lightning may have flashed across the sky as Jesus hung by his hands, laboring for each breath. The rain may have started to fall as unconcerned soldiers kept watch. Were the raindrops a relief from the relentless sun? Or did his soaked skin make him shiver? One bolt could have ended it all.
It didn’t. From noon till three in the afternoon, the seconds ticked by.
In the beginning, God spoke and the darkness yielded to created light. Jesus had brought light to so many walking in darkness. In the darkness of night, Nicodemus had met the Christ. In the night, during the storm, Jesus had walked on the water to his disciples, to let them know that they didn’t have to be afraid.
But this darkness persisted. It seems to have overcome the light. It threatened a smoldering wick. If there ever was a valley of the shadow of death, this was it.
Darkness can be deceptive. When it’s dark, the dawn seems so far away. It seems like it will never arrive. Does darkness win?
Not as long as the alarm goes off. Not as long as the sun comes up. Not as long as the day begins. Long ago, God spoke and there was day and there was night.
Our lives are not defined by darkness. They are not defined by light. They are defined by the very voice and word of God.
Some days, moments and seasons in life seem very dark. That is the moment to listen to and hear God’s Word. Yes, the morning will come. There will be light. And no darkness can overcome that light.
Heavenly Father, it feels so dark sometimes. I’m listening. Let your light shine. Amen.