When I was a little girl, I loved to watch the stars. Perhaps it was because I was afraid of the dark, but then what little girl isn’t? The stars always made the darkness feel a little bit more bearable. They were like flashlights from heaven, shining a little bit of light into my world when the sun was resting and the sky was dark.
Some days the stars would shine brighter than I’d ever seen them shine before. And some days the stars would barely shine at all, hidden beneath clouds that blocked my view of them. But as a little girl, I knew to just wait, wait until the next night because then the stars would shine just as bright as ever.
If you don’t mind some old-fashioned honesty, I’ll let you know a secret: sometimes I’m still afraid of the dark.
No, not the dark of nighttime or the dark rooms I used to hesitate walking into when I was little. Instead, I now fear a different kind of darkness — one that settles around me a little bit tighter with every broken dream, with every crushed plan, every deep wound. When my sickness holds me back from life, I feel the darkness wrap tighter. When relationships aren’t as easy as I once thought they would be, the darkness becomes thick. And sometimes it is hard to understand the purpose of this darkness.
Have you felt this way too?
When life feels dark, we can begin to question everything. There is so much beauty in the vibrant hues of golden light that stream from the sun. We feel happy and hopeful looking forward to all the bright things that lay ahead for us. But where is the beauty in darkness?
I have watched the sun go down on many dreams. I have watched the shadows creep across the soil of plans and hopes I had for my future until there is nothing left of them. I have lived more days of this year sick than I have well. I have watched friendships fade and wounds deepen, and each time I have wondered about the beauty of this season. Where is the beauty in a season that feels so dark and cold?
But then I open those old pages of my Bible. I flip through them to a text in Isaiah, a text that speaks of darkness, and it reminds me of something that I forget in the dark.
I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places,
that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.
Isaiah 45:3 (NKJV)
Treasures? In the darkness? How can there possibly be anything good in the midst of the darkness of broken dreams and plans?
And then I remember the stars.
Stars are something you can only see in the dark. I can’t see the beautiful stars when the sun is up and the sky is a vivid blue. I can only see them when night falls and there they are, shining ever brightly on the canvas of black sky.
Sometimes there are beautiful things you can only see in the dark.
I think about the losses I have mourned over the last year, the loss that has left an ache in my heart, the dark I’ve been in, and Matthew 5:4 comes to mind: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” I read the verse and I wonder, Could the hidden beauty be His comfort? Perhaps there is a level of comfort from God’s hand that we can only feel when pain fills our hearts.
So in the darkness of this season, I will look for them. I will look for the hidden treasures that God has for me. The hidden treasures that I may only be able to experience when the sky is dark and only the stars shine. And I will remind myself — and you — every day to always look for the stars.