I will give you treasures
hidden in dark
and secret places.
Then you will know that I
have called you by name.
– Isaiah 45:3
In the dark areas of our lives hides the most magnificent gifts.
When I first began practicing Silent Prayer, I was hesitant. Quieting myself creates room for thoughts and feelings to rise up that I've unconsciously built my life around avoiding: loneliness, abandonment, doubt, woundedness, anger, and bitterness. They all lay beneath the surface and quieting myself and my thoughts meant having to stand up to those strong currents in my mind.
It was a painstaking illusion to think that by my not facing them they were somehow magically not having an effect on my life. They were directing nearly every choice I made! Avoidance is very burdensome.
When I allowed myself to face my loneliness, abandonment, doubt, woundedness, anger, and bitterness without any fear or anxiety, but in the safety of stillness, silence, and trust, it allowed me to see what they've been trying to protect! Why was I bitter? Because a friend hurt me. On the surface, in the light of obviousness, that sucks. But beneath the surface, I was hurt because I care about that person and they mean a lot to me. When I look at it that way, it's a beautiful thing. Love lies beneath it. It hurt, so I tried to bury it under bitterness, but when I see what I'm burying, it makes me want to uncover and discover MORE!
Once I faced the "dark and secret places" in my heart and life, I found intimacy with God. I wanted and expected God to show up in the light, where everyone can see, and where it's the most exciting, but I found God in the places that no one can see. God is in the light too, but I didn't experience the intimacy of God until I allowed my attention/prayer to sink below the surface and into my heart, the very center of my being. To find God there, in darkness and secret, is to find true intimacy with God.
He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him–the dark rain clouds of the sky.
– Psalm 18:11