“Even in the Bible, we see many of God’s great leaders began the most significantly influential times in their lives through darkness.”

We’ve all walked through seasons of deep darkness. But is it because we’re sinning, or is it because God has something special for us? Nika Maples says there is a difference between spiritual darkness and situational darkness.

Spiritual darkness is evil, oppressive, and offensive to the kingdom of God. Situational darkness is a time of trial, suffering, and hardship. One will point you to God – the other will draw you away from Him. If you’re in situational darkness, prepare for a time of great significance. Consider these God-fearing men from Scripture:

Joseph was sold into slavery, languished in prison, and eventually rose up to be a leader in Egypt.

Daniel faced down a pit of lions for faithfully praying toward Jerusalem, though it was against the law.

Lazarus experienced physical death before he was raised by Jesus.

Samuel was a prophet chosen by God who would speak to the nation of Israel. He had to learn to recognize the voice of the One he would be speaking for; he learned as a young boy, in the middle of the night, in the dark.

Paul, formerly Saul, was persecuting Christians until a face-to-face encounter with Jesus robbed him of sight. That blindness led to true spiritual vision, and the man who was killing Christians became a father of the church.

Each of these followers faced a time of situational darkness, but it was never proof that God had deserted them.

“God was with those people. And He never abandoned them. In fact, He used the darkness to train them as hope hunters.”

How can we become hope hunters?

If our only hope is God, then we have to be able to keep Him in sight all times. We can do that by remembering in the darkness what He’s told us in the light. As Nika reminds us, those who see God in the dark are those who have learned to see Him in the light.

“What we see in the dark is God. He’s with us. He never leaves. And the more we trust that, the more we grow as leaders ourselves.”

Nika Maples is the author of .

Key Scriptures: Romans 8:18; Romans 5:1-5

Featured Songs: Wonderful by Christy Nockels; Amen by Chris August; The Table by Chris Tomlin

Hunting hope