Book Review: Seeing in the Dark



Several weeks ago my friend sent me a link to this book and said she thought it looked interesting.  Based on the fact that this friend and I typically like the same type of books, I quickly added it to my list.  I have always enjoyed the writing and teaching of both John and Nancy Ortberg, so I was glad to have a chance to pick up Seeing in the Dark this past week.   The timing was impeccable.  As we head in to the holidays, I’ve had more opportunities than ever to try to encourage family and friends that seem to be walking through the darkness, into the darkness, or are just coming out of the darkness.  In the loss of a dear friend this fall as well as some other more minor bumps in the road, I’ve encountered some darkness myself and was greatly encouraged by this book.  What a great encouragement it is to be reminded of God’s faithfulness!  When we are faithless, He is faithful!

I’d definitely recommend this book for anyone that is walking through a difficult season or walking out of a difficult season.  This book is also a great resource for anyone that desires to be prepared to walk with someone through a difficult season.  Nancy Ortberg has filled this book with Scripture and organized it into short essays that are easy to read in a sitting.  The entire book is a pretty quick read.  My favorite part of the book is when Nancy points out the joy that can be found in the “glorious ordinary” if we simply notice the fact that God is working for His glory and our good in all things.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted those notes below…

  • We are compelled to take that next step with merely a tug in our souls rather than the clear path we long for.  We get a glimpse when what we want is a panoramic view.
  • This life is simply a setup for pain.  Created for perfection yet living in a broken world, designed for an eternity that is mostly veiled, you and I are caught between what could be and what is.  Every longing and ache we feel is a sign of that gap.  In that gap is room for such a multitude of competing experiences that war within us.  And in that gap is where God lives.
  • “God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are, and if we faithlessly discard situation after situation, moment after moment, as not being ‘right’, we will simply have no place to receive his kingdom into our life.” Dallas Willard
  • This in-between space is where God meets us and grows us in our understanding of who he is.  Only tested faith is a personal possession.  As uncomfortable as it is, when we surrender to live in these gaps and in these contrasts, we allow God to do his most profound work in us.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  • We are all wounded and broken people.  Sometimes it takes getting wounded to remember that.  And then when we are in pain, it takes a long time to settle down and face it.
  • Hosea 6:1-2
  • “Never doubt in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”  Dr. V Raymond Edman
  • Reminders are deeply necessary in those in-between times.
  • Luke 1:78-79
  • When the perspective goes beyond my small moment in time and I consider God’s work in the history of humanity, I begin to see other things going on.
  • And so it is with life; the understanding that what is happening in the shadows is what is needed to get us where we long to be.
  • Psalm 116:15
  • Haggai 2:4  There was hope in this gap.  Hope because God was there.
  • At a point where we might miss his presence, he reminds his people to rejoice.
  • Often what emerges out of destruction is life of a deeper and sweeter quality than before.  But it takes pain and darkness to get there.
  • Each tug reminding us to stop and take notice because something is going on here—something we are about to miss if we don’t let this sudden movement get our attention.  A moment that will pass by if we let it.
  • 1 Peter 2:9  His wonderful light—light that offers us the life we were created for.  Light that comes out of and into our darkness.
  • Just a sliver.  Just a small amount of the light that is God will get you all the way through the desert.  It will get you all the way home.
  • The glorious ordinary.
  • Numbers 6:24-26

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