Larry Crabb says that we find God only when we need him. Simple words, but true. It’s like looking for the light switch in a dark room. No one goes searching for it until the sunlight has gone. Similarly, darkness can impel our search for God.
Several years ago I met the last survivor pulled from the wreckage after the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. During our time together, Genelle Guzman-McMillan told me a story about flirting with faith but choosing to live without it. Then, on September 11, her world fell apart and she found herself in complete darkness, buried alive under a mountain of rubble.
“God, you’ve got to help me!” she prayed, lying beneath a stairwell. “You’ve got to show me a sign, show me a miracle, give me a second chance. Please save my life . . . and I promise I will do your will.”(1)
What shocked me most about Genelle’s story was not that she managed to survive after the North Tower collapsed on top of her but how she reflected on that experience. She told me she thanked God for it because it was a wake-up call. In the midst of impenetrable darkness, she discovered his light.
We, too, have found the light that is our salvation. Even so, there are times when we hit patches of darkness, when we don’t know what to do, when we feel challenged beyond our strength. Difficult as it can be to navigate our way through the darkness, it is precisely in the midst of it that we can find God.
Rather than giving in to the gloom that threatens us or those we love, let’s allow it to press us toward God, believing that he is near, whether or not we sense his presence. As Larry Crabb points out, “When we seek him with a stronger passion than we seek anything else (such as solutions or relief), we will find him. . . . After a long fall through darkness, we will land on the truth of his eternal, almighty, and loving character, and will believe he is always up to something good.”(2) More
(2) Larry Crabb, Connecting (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 179.