In the movie The Dark Knight Rises, the villain Bane, confronted by the hero Batman, taunts the caped crusader saying, “You think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it.” I wonder how many of us think about the darkness in our lives this way. The deep wounds, the health scares, the sudden death of close friends or family, the battle with mental illness, the brushes with poverty, the unraveling of friendships, and the fear of sickness on a global scale are very dark things indeed. Do they define us? Do they mold and shape us as people? In a positive sense, all our suffering shapes us into the people we are now.
If I hadn’t battled life-crippling depression on multiple occasions, I would not be the same person I am today. It made me stronger and more compassionate toward others who suffer. There is always a reason for the darkness in our lives. Though each person’s shadows look different, they all tell a unique story. That thing in your life that won’t go away, that stubborn darkness that plagues your soul, is there for a reason. God’s Word says that our suffering builds character and forms a muscle of faith that gets stronger when stretched (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:1-5).
Suffering, a Great Teacher
No one ever signed up for suffering, but it finds us all. Affliction is no respecter of persons. Darkness descends on every person during their earthly journey. Here’s the difference. If you know Christ, you have hope, unbreakable hope.
We spend so much time evaluating the darkness in our lives that we forget the light shining just overhead. Following Christ, we possess eternal hope on even the darkest of days. Our suffering is perhaps the greatest teacher in our lives. Without it, we will never become like our Savior. After all, Jesus carried a heavy, blood-stained cross with a crown of thorns driven into his skull for us. He endured the greatest darkness, the rejection and abandonment of the Father because he took our sin upon himself (Matt. 27:45-46).
No one in history has suffered as Jesus did and triumphed as he did. We only taste of the suffering Christ endured for us. Stretching our perspective, our faith informs our suffering. The weight of glory involves the resurrection of our earthly bodies. When we suffer the full measure of hardship God has for us, we will rise up. We will rise up on the last day when Christ returns, and our tears will be wiped away, and our fears will be silenced.
Your darkness doesn’t have to define you, but it does mold you. It molds you to be more like Christ. Friend, I know your burden seems heavy. It is. But just think of the Day when all you will see is light. Think of the Day, when all you will see is our Triune God. On that Day, all you will see is the sea of redeemed saints lifting up their voices in praise to King Jesus. What a Day that will be! In the meantime, let’s face the shadows together, knowing that the light of that Day is just ahead.
Steve Sering serves as the Worship Pastor for Blue Ridge Christian Union Church in Shelbyville, IN. He is also a manager at Chick-fil-A at the Indianapolis airport. Steve earned an M.Div. from Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY and a B.S. from Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, IN. He has contributed to several devotionals for the Family Research Council. In his spare time he enjoys teaching and preaching God’s Word to his church, spending time with family and watching the occasional superhero movie with friends.