Pairs and contrasts
The Genesis account of creation details an epic display of God’s wonder. It is not something that I have meditated on extensively but imagine witnessing life coming into being by the very breath of God. There is an intentionality that marks the creation story that also highlights a particular complementary rhythm, a pairing and contrasting that is perfectly executed by a perfect God.
One such contrasting pair is light and darkness, day and night. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day”(Genesis chapter 1 verses 3-5)
This pair has greatly symbolized my experiences over the last few months and shows God’s miraculous hands in dark nights and bright days. I am grateful for the revelatory pattern embedded in the creative order that has granted me so many lessons in this season.
There are lessons that God teaches us in both morning and night seasons. He’s bent on making a teachable moment out of everything, to fulfill his mission of making us look more like Christ.
What I’ve observed over the last few months of dark nights is how much those moments cultivate an awareness of our weaknesses. They seem to be deliberately fashioned to bring us face to face with how desperately weak and frail we are. That is a lesson we all need, or the pride in pleasant seasons can fool us that we are self-sufficient.
Night seasons have highlighted the idols in my heart, as I try to grasp for every semblance of normalcy I’m reminded of the idols of comfort and ease. They demand and contend for the “right” to coast through this life, escaping the fires of refining and fast tracking the process of sanctification. Night seasons have cultivated in me a desperation for the presence of God.
In Psalm chapter 139 verse 8, David says “If I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there,” I’ve come to hold the truth that the greatest gift in despair and torment is the very presence of God. When God gifts you Himself in those dark nights, it produces a desire and delight in Him, as a faithful friend who sustains in trials.
Oh how I have grown to love morning, not only because it provides alleviation of pain and hardship but morning produces the fruit of gratefulness. When gratitude is deliberately cultivated it cleanses our lenses from the fog of the night to see the masterpiece of righteousness and holiness the night produced in us.
I have also learnt that the morning must be stewarded faithfully and almost act as a basket to hold lessons in God’s kindness. It serves us well to anchor ourselves in God’s goodness and relish in His lovingkindness, as these truths about His character provide us with firm foundations for when times get hard.
Psalms and songs
A companion God has granted us both in morning and night seasons is the gift of the book of Psalm. Sprinkled through it are uncanny similarities to our own lives, as well as snapshots of God’s chosen people responding to life with songs and poetry; they show an authenticity of struggle yet great reliance on their God.
There are a few Psalms that have proven to be a great reminder of how God is present in both morning and night seasons. The Psalmist says a very social media postable statement, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psalm chapter 30 verse 5).
I’m sure I would repost or retweet, but walking through that reality grants you so much more perspective. Another one that has reassured me of God’s promises is found in Psalm chapter 126 verse 5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
The highs of mountain top seasons and the honest lament of dark valleys are experiences we all can relate to, to one degree or another. The Psalms provide a way for us to express these realities to God in times when that expression seems difficult.
The reality is that this is a fallen world and so sickness, trials, corruption and death will always be consistent features. There is also a truth that as we get closer to the end of the age that times will become increasingly difficult, as those who live godly are assured persecution.
Therefore it is in the seasons of morning and night that God chooses to develop our patient endurance and fasten our hearts to His lovingkindness, tools we will need for periods of great darkness. He is fixing our gaze on eternal things, and removing our fixation from what is temporal and passing. In our light affliction, He is using them to work for us an eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 17).
Night strips us of our clinging and clutching to what the world says is important and refines our vision to gaze at our eternal home, because we are indeed pilgrims and strangers here. There is coming a time when we will have no need for light for our mornings because the Lamb will be the lamp and those will be the brightest mornings.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.