Les was a fossicker. He had spent the day digging fruitlessly among the rocks for amethysts. The clang of spades on rocks sounded loud in the drowsy somnolence hanging over the scrub.
‘I might be onto something here,’ Les’s voice broke the quiet afternoon
Carefully he scraped and brushed away the dirt and was able to lift a huge crystal from its hiding place. It lay in his hand winking at him. His joy knew no bounds.
Somewhere in the long ago, the crystal had formed in a cataclysmic upheaval. It had lain hidden for countless eons, a treasure formed in the dark until Les found it.
Isaiah recorded the word of the Lord to Cyrus, ‘I will give you the treasures hidden in the darkness, secret riches; you will know that I am doing this – I the Lord God of Israel, The Lord found me the one who calls you by your name.’
I often wondered what this verse meant. It has slowly dawned over time that the treasure spoken of was learning to praise the Lord in all situations. Learning the power of intercessory prayer, learning to believe in God in the face of opposition, leaving behind grudges, forsaking pride embracing the humility of obedience. These attributes were formed, like the crystal, in dark times.
Milton, the great poet of his time, lived in a world of darkness, he was blind.Despite that darkness he wrote immortal poetry. Likewise Fanny Crosby, also blind, wrote hundreds of hymns that are still sung today, precious crystals of praise and insights about the Lord. They learnt that in times of physical darkness and the darkness of circumstance, the person of the Lord is formed in them.
C.S. Lewis was devastated by the death of his wife. He described his feelings as though God had slammed a door in his face and double locked the door from the inside. Later, when his grief subsided he recognised that his walk with God plumbed new depths. Out of the darkness of grief he was able to write a book that gave hope and life to its readers – a treasure from a secret place.
Paul the apostle was no stranger to the dark places. From those places he wrote most of the New Testament. His writings have spanned 2000 years and are treasured and enriched by all who read.
I may have been formed in the kingdom of darkness but I thank God that he searched for me and brought me out of that kingdom into the kingdom of light as Les the fossicker exposed his crystal to the light. I also praise God that he has taken me through the dark times so that I found the secret richness of him in my life. More and more over the years I can say with Paul, ‘We rejoice when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us – they help us to learn to be patient.’