“Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?” – Isaiah 21:11 (NLT)
Darkness suffers from bad PR.
Images of fresh vitality and renewed vigor come with the morning light, while the night conjures voids of cheerful animation. No wonder so much of our lives are placed on dismal pause until the darkness we face is dissipated by the brilliance of our long-awaited day breaks.
But an attentive sentinel of the night can see that darkness harbors much more life and renewal than many may presume. Certain species of plants and animals only come to life during the nocturnal hours.
Emerging from a greenish white stem, the Nicotiana plant displays delicate petals that adorn its space with bright pops of pink. But to behold the fulness of its beauty, we must brave the darkness, because Nicotiana only blooms at night, when its sweet fragrance is also at its peak.
Night bloomers bloom at night because their pollinators are only active when the sun goes down.
Life happens in the dark. Seeds of insight are planted when daylight disappears. Petals of new possibility open themselves when most of the world around them is fast asleep. The life-sustaining power of pollination is not restricted by the absence of light.
The power of God is revealed in the wilderness. Human community is strengthened through struggle. Visions come to light in the dark. Hope blossoms when the morning star is not seen.
All of us who yearn for brighter days could benefit from a more cognizant appreciation of how life is sustained and renewed and fortified in the dark.
And on the next sunny day we bite into a mango or an apple, let us remember that the seed of that fruit could very well have been produced in the darkness of the night.
Lord, when we cannot see light, show us the light of your presence. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Decatur, Georgia.