(If you want the backing for what you read follow the links.)
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
Use your imagination if you will: you are out walking and just about lunch time you come across a strange wild man standing on a street corner shouting ‘Give glory to the Lord before its too late’… you think to yourself, these guys are an embarrassment to proper Christians who preach in church. Suddenly your footsteps lead you down a path you had not realise was there, you find yourself slipping and sliding and bump down into a place of darkness; Hearing a voice behind you turn round and a mack on the side of your head sends you heading deeper into the darkness, ‘don’t look at me, move, deeper into darkness, move.’ A land of darkness, as darkness itself, covered in the shadow of death, without any order; light is as darkness.
A land where darkness reigns, a kingdom of darkness. A pit, the type of pit that Jeremiah was lowered into or perhaps the one that Joseph’s brothers threw him into. It is a quagmire of slime, smelly, slippery, there is no way out. Your get up and go has left you and dullness and inactivity pervades. You are slack kneed and weak armed without will, your eye has lost its luster trapped by circumstance you throw yourself at the walls only to slither down again and again. Groping about like a blind man at noonday feeling for something firm to cling to and all you feel is darkness, darkness that is tangible. It‘s as if the sky is wrapped in black, burned, sacking. You stumble across the dead in the dim light like a drunk. You call and no one answers, you cry and nobody cares. Friends and family have abandoned you and even the love of your life has left you in the dark. You cry out to God in your anguish and know that he hears but does not answer. More frightening is the fact that you don’t expect an answer, all you are waiting for is the inevitable. In your helpless state you expect rejection destruction and death.
You are filled with darkness, horror and terror, sinking lower and lower in the stinking, cloying slime of a pit lower than you have ever been. you realize that it is not just the corruption of the place that smells but the corruption of the people, the stench of death and decay is overpowering. Surrounded by the inner lie, murder, adultery and theft you flee. You imagine that you will wake and this will be a dream, a nightmare but this sleep this horror of deep darkness is yours for eternity unless someone leads you out. Strangling is preferable to this living hell but even death can not hide you. You run from one terror only to find a worse one pursuing you,
You are struck by a strange sound more a grinding vibration that fills your head. you glance around in the outer darkness and realising that it comes from inside your head you taste the blood, your blood an realise that you have been chewing your tongue and now your teeth are splintering against one another as they are ground and gnashed.
You realize that your mind and reason are on a slippery slope too, the darkness you are running from is within you, there is no light within you.You know that you are on a walled in way where you will be crushed and broken; pressed, a way where the future is dim. You regret that you were ever born.
Corruption within and without darkness that can not be seen with the eye darkness of the soul, darkness at noonday, darkness that is secret. The gloominess of the place spills over from the physical to your every thought. Soulical darkness pervades your innermost being and depression settles on you soul. Everything you were sure of is fluid, moral relativity you heard about out in the world is in you, the ethics you based your being on are shaky. Reason abandons you and madness invades you, confusion and chaos reign in your world suddenly, everything is formless and void of meaning. As if you are the inhabitant of a destroyed city in the wilderness, shell shocked, confused you wander looking for some purpose. Shame, guilt and the fear of living, the fear of dying terrify you. Dread and the shadow of death flow over you like a cloying disease, overshadowing, a wet blanket pulled over your faith. It is a place of blindness, stumbling, astonishment of heart. Reliable judgment has left, nothing is certain. You realize that this is your fault; you have abandoned the faith, forgotten your God and turned away from the light, screwed and twisted away from the very light that would lead you to safety… a darkness of unbelief and rebellion. This knowledge drives you further into a wasteland; grief, regret, unforgiveness and condemnation stalk you. Hope is extinguished, the snuffer has been slipped over the last candle. Haunted and pursued by forces you don’t understand and can not see, abused, broken, diseased, beaten and bound you are despairing, friendless, fearful. Surrounded by evil and endless toil, the lash of the taskmaster flicking out to cause pain and annoyance.
All around and within you, you encounter pain, misery, woe, affliction, death, sorrow, wrath and sickness. It is as if the cruel have made this their home, millions and millions trampling upon one another… abusing each other, verbally, physically and mentally, cursing the living and the dead, blasphemy and backstabbing , they even curse the demons and God himself, spewing corruption like a flood wrung out of them.
Why so much suffering, you ask yourself and those in the darkness near you. Why? You have no answer and neither do they… Inarticulate they can not speak. Job 37:19;
You realize that this is not someone else’s decay you are experiencing this is you; this is your heart that you are looking into. Imagine if you could see into the deepest recesses of your heart? The realization forces you to ask God for justice.
A demon speaks from within the darkness: ‘This is not the place to hide from God; to him the darkness and the light are the same. In fact he created the darkness and the evil.’ ‘God speaks from darkness.’
‘God dwells in the darkness and the darkness form pavilions round him, he has the darkness under his feet.’
Sure that he is wrong but rather than disagree you couch your reply in the form of a question. ‘Why would he do that?’
He takes you by the arm and leads on; ‘Come with me and I will show you a place that will interest you… he leads you to a dark pit and there are a large number of saints. Some curled up into balls on the floors are surrounded by crowds poking them with sharp sticks and knives. They are being mocked, spat on and abused. Some of them are being martyred and tortured. Faced with beheading and being sawn in two some of them refuse to be released in order to gain a better resurrection. they cry out in thanks and praise The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
David, Job and Ezekiel are there. Job and Jeremiah sit with puddles of tears under them and David’s couch is wet with tears. Looking down you see a stream, a river of tears flowing, being fed by the steady flow from the eyes of the saints. Tormented heroes of the faith are here. Some are bound and many are shackled. You ask why they are there and the guide answers, ‘because God brings treasures out of the darkness and deep things are revealed out of the darkness.’ ‘Do you mean that God uses darkness for his own purposes?’
‘Yes for his purposes and for those sitting in darkness.’ ‘Where do you think the gold, silver and the precious gems come from?’ ‘the hay, wood and stubble are gathered in the sunlight but God digs for the precious metals in the darkness.’ The fire of affliction burns off the dross leaving purity. Mysteries that can not be discovered by any other means, secrets of the heart are allowed to rise to the surface, to be dealt with, the scum can be scooped off. ‘God uses darkness and the suffering that men endure in order to separate.’ In this place where men’s spirits are overwhelmed they commune with their own hearts and meditate on their lives allowing their spirits to diligently search the deepest recesses of their beings.
Job says; ‘This will end and then you will be able to say I was punished in the place of dragons but I did not call out to another God.’ ‘This is the place where great men achieve great things. Even the blind that are being led by crooked paths have hope… All-round is death and even in death there is hope.’ there are those who are rejected and lie round like the scrapings from a furnace, tangled, frothy, misshapen and cold… The wicked are locked up for ever and ever never seeing light.