The Thick Darkness Where God Was

Margaret Powers wrote a poem. It was about a man, but when I remembered it, I saw a woman. She was walking with God, so there were two sets of footprints. But sometimes there was just one, and she didn’t know why. She found out that they were when the Lord had carried her.

Why, I wondered, why didn’t she know the Lord had carried her? Why couldn’t she feel Him? Why couldn’t she see Him? Why couldn’t she hear His voice whispering to her?

But then . . .

. . . it happened to me.

Now I know.

I know that she couldn’t feel Him . . . because she was numb all over.

I know that she couldn’t see His face . . . because the darkness surrounded her like a cloying blanket, a black blanket, thick and suffocating.

I know that she couldn’t hear Him whispering comforting words . . . because the noise of a thousand enemy voices seemed to be shouting in her ear.

I know, because I cried out to God, in the numbness, in the darkness. God, why are You doing this to me?

And I thought I heard only silence. I thought the darkness surrounded me.

And then I thought I heard the enemy laugh.

In Genesis 15:12, “a horror of great darkness” fell on Abraham. But in that darkness, God spoke.

In Exodus, though God’s people were frightened, terrified even, by the darkness that surrounded the mountain, Moses went into “the thick darkness where God was.” There the glory of God was revealed to him. Then his face shone. It shone so brightly he had to cover it with a veil.

I saw no glory. I saw only darkness. Show me your glory, I cried. But I did not hear His voice. I did not feel His presence.

How long was it like this? How did I carry on? How was it that so few around me knew?

I read in Psalm 18 that God “made darkness His secret place. His pavilion round about Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.”

Why, oh Lord? Are you not the God of Light and Salvation? Why?

I thought I was beating against heaven’s gates. Was it really just my fists against the floor?

When tsunamis were sweeping across the news, a tsunami swept across my soul.

But He gave me His Word. It looked like ink spattered on a page. Didn’t He say it was alive?

I held it close. I clung to it, as a dying woman, after a tsunami, clings to a plank in the dark, dark ocean. I searched it. I looked for Jesus.

“I am the light of the world,” He said. “He who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. Come unto Me and I will give you rest.”

I thought I was following You, Jesus, I said. But I do not see Your light. I do not feel Your rest. I feel only turmoil and despair. But I will believe, I said. I will trust You. I come. I follow.

“Christ is in you,” said His Word. “The hope of glory.”

I don’t feel Christ in me, I said. But I will believe. I will hope.

“You have put off the old man with his deeds,” said His Word. “And you have put on the new man.”

I feel like an old man, I said. I don’t feel like I’ve put him off. I don’t feel like I’ve put on the new man.

But oh Lord, You have said differently. You are right. I am wrong. I don’t understand it, but I will believe You.

Jesus, Jesus, I will hold on to You. I cannot feel You. I cannot see You. But I will hold on.

Jesus, Jesus, You will hold on to me. In the middle of the storm, when I think I will be dashed against the rocks, You will hold on to me.

I began to sense His presence. The numbness of my soul slowly fell away. I began to feel His gentle touch.

After beholding the glory of God, Moses had to cover his face with a veil.

But His Word said that when I gaze on Him, I won’t have to veil my face. I can behold the glory of the Lord. When I do, when I do, I will be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord.

I will believe, I said. Though I do not understand it, I will believe it.

God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

I began to see His glory. Glimmers of light. Hope. Even, sometimes, even joy.

And then I looked back. The thick darkness was behind me.

His Hope. His Peace. His Love. His Joy. They were ahead.

His Light. His Presence.

He rescued me. He delivered me.

Still, when I turn and look back on the darkness, so thick, still the tears sting my eyes. It seemed that I came within a breath of destruction.

But all along . . .

. . . though I couldn’t feel Him . . .

. . . though I couldn’t hear Him . . .

. . . though I couldn’t see Him . . .

. . . He had carried me.

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Ruth Mummert
Ruth Mummert
9 years ago

What a gift! He did this for me and if He did it for me.. there must be many others. Thank you for sharing. Sharing and shining – the power and presence and provision of God even when it’s too dark to see it. Beautifully put. Praise be to God!

Heidi Smid
Heidi Smid
9 years ago

Thank you for writing this! It will be one I share with women who are suffering and feeling alone….

Harvey's Mom
Harvey's Mom
6 years ago

Whoa! I wasn’t ready for that to hit so spot on! Thank you so much for sharing this and writing from your heart. I’m encouraged and I’ve already passed it on. Blessings!


[…] me, one set of “hills” I would look to would be a time of darkness when, spiritually speaking, I couldn’t see my hand before my face.  But then seeing the Lord bring me out to the other side and show Himself strong and manifest […]


[…] I also know that Christians—I think especially ones who were “good” people growing up—can after their salvation come to a deeper realization or understanding of their own sin. I know this experientially because it happened to me. Though I still regularly need to repent and confess sins, in my adult Christian life I experienced three major episodes when I came face to face with noxious sin in my life from which I desperately needed to be delivered. (Through one of these experiences the Lord taught me what it meant to be released from the bondage of sin, which I wrote about here.) […]

4 years ago

So this is where I am? In the midst of the darkness. My hope is that you’re right and I am truly not alone but being carried even though I cannot hear, see or feel Him. I long for the day when I emerge into the light and once again can tangibly experience His joy, peace and love. It’s encouraging to hear from those who have been there. Thank you!


[…] me, one set of “hills” I would look to would be a time of darkness when, spiritually speaking, I couldn’t see my hand before my face. But then seeing the Lord bring me out to the other side and show Himself strong and manifest […]

3 years ago

Thank you for inspiring a sense of HOPE…GENTLY reminding US that things will not always be as they are right now!


[…] me, one set of “hills” I would look to would be a time of darkness when, spiritually speaking, I couldn’t see my hand before my face.  But then seeing the Lord bring me out to the other side and show Himself strong and manifest […]


[…] long road. It can be very hard in places, even dark and frightening. On one path I walked through in a time of great spiritual darkness, for example, I felt like I was walking through fire or walking between two rows of roaring […]


[…] When I look at the dates on those notes (yes, I’ve always dated my Bible notes), I can remember what I was going through. They were times of great trial that I’ve never blogged about, except obliquely. […]


[…] through a time of very severe spiritual testing, to show that He was faithful and He was capable. (I alluded to that here.) I’ve written many blog posts based on truths He showed me in His Word and confirmed through that […]

William Reeves
9 months ago

You wrote this years before. On vacation Reading 1 kings 8 I seemed to noticed verses 10 and 11 in the context of ceremony and speech the verses almost went unnoticed. But I became fascinated with them. We want to so much have fellowship with God face-to-face, but we must contend our song to walk by faith. I get it. All that God is He shields us with a dark cloud. The Priest will have to follow the directions given in the Scriptures in their work in the holy place in holy of holies. We have his word which is a great source of encouragement and direction. But I still have a desire to see God face-to-face. And yet continue to walk by faith. With all the experiences that you explored in your blog here. I am older now and I know within a limited number of years I will meet the Lord absent from the body, present with the lord. My prayer is now, even so Lord Jesus come. Our purpose to fellowship with God will be fulfilled. The problem in first kings 8:10, 11 fascinates me.

7 months ago

Your words so resonated with me and where I am at right now. I’ve been walking through the valley of the shadow of death for a year and a half now and feeling like I can’t take another day and yet I see now that He has been carrying me. I just cried out to Him tonight asking Him why I can’t hear Him, see Him or feel Him. I long for the peace and joy I once knew. I live with the fear that Iwill never feel it again. It is in this place that I’ve learned that nothing matters but to know Him and feel His presence. It has brought to a place of complete surrender. God truly does give treasures in the darkness, I am waiting for them.

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