The other night my wife was hosting one of our church’s women’s community groups, so I took the kids and made myself scarce for a couple hours. At one point in the evening we had to run by my office at the church, so we piled out of the van and walked up the front steps to a vacant church building after the sun had gone down. As my sons looked through the glass doors all they could see was darkness, so they started to freak out a bit and didn’t let up until we got back in the van.
On the way home, I took the opportunity to talk to them about their reaction to the dark. First, we talked about why the dark is scary to us: because we can’t see in the dark. We don’t know what is in the dark or what is happening in the dark because the dark hides whatever is in it. So, really the dark is scary to us because it creates uncertainty in us… we’re scared of what we don’t know.
Second, we talked about why we can be brave in the dark: because even though we can’t see in the dark, we can trust that God sees in the dark. God sees all things everywhere that are hiding in the dark at all times. In Psalm 139:12, speaking of God, David says, “Even the darkness is not dark to you and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to you.” Your child needs to know that the Lord is a warrior (Exodus 15:3), and darkness does nothing to keep him from fighting for those who put their trust in him. The darkness is another tool for us to point children to the reality that we are needy and limited, but God is not, and all of his perfect power and strength is directed toward those believe in his Son.