The Song of Solomon is one of the most exciting books in the Old Testament. It is also one of the world's greatest love poems. An unnamed couple, a king and a common peasant girl, fall in love. For eight beautiful chapters they sing to each other of their devotion. In this powerful picture of human love, many people who study the Bible find an illustration of the love between Jesus and his Church.
One night the young woman found herself alone. There is no explanation given for her situation. All we know for certain is, she was experiencing darkness. It was both a physical darkness, the darkness of the night, and a spiritual darkness, the absence of the one she loved.
There is no indication she had done anything to drive her love away. He was simply absent from her side at that moment. While it is true that Jesus said, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you,” there are nevertheless times when we feel darkness all around us and we feel that we are alone. We have not sinned, we have done nothing to drive the Lord away, if, in fact, we could ever drive Him away. But in that moment, there is darkness, and nothing more.
To that moment and to that darkness, the young woman speaks: “Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a young deer upon the mountains!” Those words are full of excitement. She recognizes her situation. It is dark and lonely. But she also recognizes that situation will not last forever. The one she loves has not abandoned her. He will come to her.
God's child may walk one day, with full assurance of faith, and at another time he may be sighing instead of singing, weeping instead of rejoicing. But it is only a temporary darkness. The shadows are only momentary. The young woman said, “Until the day breaks, until the shadows flee away.” The day will break! The shadows will flee away! The Lover of our souls will come to us “leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills.”
If you are, right at this moment, experiencing darkness, if the shadows are creeping in and blurring your vision of faith, what do you do?
First of all, wait with patience. For reasons that you do not understand, it is your Lord who has called you into this darkness. He has posted you to this position to serve Him. It is not a darkness of sin, it is not a darkness that would come from abandoning the Lord; it is a darkness of testing.
Second, don't think of deserting because it is night. Do you remember the night when He prayed in anguish until His sweat was like drops of blood? That prayer was for your survival when you were called on to face your darkness. Hold on. Dawn is coming.
Third, keep watching. There are only so many hours of night. Then the dawn will break. While your soul is watching for the morning, don't look toward the direction you last saw the sun go down. Look to where you know it will come up again. You may not be able to see Him in your time of testing, but He can see you! Like the disciples that night on storm-tossed Galilee, He can come to you in your darkness.
Fourth, you may be enclosed by darkness, but the darkness cannot get inside of you. The world lives in darkness. Sinners love darkness because it hides their wickedness. Don't let those who live in darkness tantalize you into carelessness because their fate will be an eternal darkness.
Finally, be expectant. Look! Can't you see that first gray finger of the dawn? A moment ago, there was no hope, now there is a beam of light. “Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be like a young deer upon the mountains!” There in the distance, running directly towards you — it is your Lord.
(David Sisler's newspaper column, Not For Sunday Only, is in its 14th year of weekly publication. Not for Sunday Only is based on news events, sports, popular songs, motion pictures and personal glimpses. The message is: the Christian faith is an everyday happening it is not for Sunday only. The columns are thoroughly researched, and never indicate denominational bias. For reprint permission, or to subscribe to Not For Sunday Only, contact Mr. Sisler at firstname.lastname@example.org.)