Spiritual Lessons in Physical Darkness

NFL Star Aaron Rodgers recently announced he was about to go into a four-day “Darkness Retreat” for a time of focused reflection. Rodgers could have come to my neighborhood the past few days and found all the darkness he needed. The only noise he would encounter would be the hum of our neighbors’ generators keeping precious food from spoilage.  

Friday afternoon, around 4:45, our electricity went out along with about 400,000 of our fellow Kentuckians. We were without power until the following Tuesday night, which was a day less than anticipated.  

Compared to what others are dealing with, this was a minor inconvenience — but an inconvenience, nonetheless. I told my wife, Connie, that it was like camping without leaving the house. She doesn’t like camping whether it’s at home or away from home and probably didn’t appreciate the analogy.  

The time without electricity was not without its benefits. I discovered several spiritual lessons and would like to offer five. Here they are: 

1. Deep habits die hard: I stopped counting the number of times I walked into a dark room and flipped a light switch, only to remember there was no power supplied to that switch. However, after a few days I stopped flipping switches and even had to remind myself to use the lights after power was restored. For believers, our spiritual habits — such as a daily quiet time, regularly gathering for worship and giving a tithe of our income — are good practices we need to work to maintain.  

2. Shared struggle strengthens community: One of the benefits of our power outage was that it gave me something in common with my neighbors. My neighbors are busy people that I mostly only see going and coming in their cars. During the power outage I was able to have sidewalk conversations about what it was like to be without electricity. I commiserated with a neighbor (Robert) and even attended my first Puppy Birthday Party as one of our neighbors invited me and our dog Teddy to their house on Friday evening. God calls us to love our neighbors, and this was an opportunity to connect with some of mine.  

3. Initial frustration gives way to adaptation: Saturday, our first full day without electricity, I mostly tried to figure out what we could and couldn’t do. By Sunday, I was making stovetop coffee and enjoying my morning quiet time with the help of a small battery-powered lantern. While we may not love our circumstances, we can usually (by God’s grace) adapt to them relatively quickly.  

4. God provides providentially: A few weeks ago, Connie came home with a three pack of small portable lanterns, batteries included, that she had picked up on clearance at Costco. Those lanterns made life much easier for us. By God’s providence, the house we live in has a gas stove, a gas log for heat and a gas furnace for hot water. Those are not items we would have looked for in a home, but by God’s providential grace, they were especially helpful during a power outage.  

5. We can thrive with less: God is so good to us that even without electricity we had all we needed. We had plenty to eat and shelter over our heads. I needed this simple reminder that we can get by — and enjoy life — with much less.  

Given the option of having electricity or not having it, I would choose to be fully powered every time. However, our few days without this important utility was not without its benefits.  

One thought on “Spiritual Lessons in Physical Darkness

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: