Dark Seasons May Be God's Protection

Karen Del Tatto

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 10, 2024
Dark Seasons May Be God's Protection

There is nothing that the Lord allows to happen that He doesn’t already plan on being right there with us!

If you’re breathing, you’ve experienced a dark season or two—those times when you feel that God is far away or everything is going wrong and you don’t feel like you will ever see the light of day.

Even Jesus experienced the heaviness of darkness on the cross when He cried out, “My God My God why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Only, the cause of darkness that Jesus experienced was because of our sin. But that’s not to be confused with saying that if you are in a dark season it means a consequence of sin. Sometimes that might be the case due to poor choices on your part, but it also may have nothing to do with sin. In both cases, however, it might be a means to protect you and/or redirect you. No matter what, whether sin caused your dark season or not, as a child of God you can know that He only disciplines those He loves. He is our Heavenly Father who wants the best for His children.  

What is the old adage? It’s always darkest before the dawn. Well, we can know that in every dark season we experience, there will be a dawn. Jesus is the Light of the World, and He will use the dark seasons in a believer’s life to show His love and glorify Himself.

Not only that, but we may see that the reason for our dark season was God’s protection over us.

No one saw that better than the Apostle Paul:

“But Felix, having quite accurate knowledge about the Way, adjourned them, saying, 'When Lysias the commander comes down, I will decide your case.' He gave orders to the centurion for Paul to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from providing for his needs.” Acts 24:22-23

There was quite a movement to ensure that Paul couldn’t continue preaching the gospel and even more of a push by those outside the officials to have him killed. However, it seemed that every obstacle Paul came across, the Lord orchestrated so that more and more people were hearing the gospel despite this! Even during Paul’s dark times in prison, He was receiving God’s protection and favor from those in charge of him as we see in the above verse. However, there were plots to kill him when he was out of prison. Although the prison cell was, I’m sure, uncomfortable (sarcasm), Paul was still able to do ministry for the Lord and not deal with the threats of outsiders trying to take him down or kill him.

I think we can see a little glimpse into our own lives through the Apostle Paul’s life of how God uses dark seasons to protect us:

His Favor 

One of the first childhood fears is of the dark. As children, we see monsters in every dark corner. Adults can have moments too! Lol. I can remember laying in bed one evening having just woken up in the middle of the night in my dark bedroom, and I looked over and thought I saw a figure standing by my closet. I jumped a mile and covered my head. As I peeked out from under the blanket, I looked again and remembered I had hung a dress on the outside of my closet. That was my monster. Haha!  

There is something about physical darkness that feels heavy. Years ago, we went to a cave in Alabama. When we were deep inside, the tour guide said he was going to turn the lights off and we would be in total darkness, not being able to even see our hand in front of our eyes. Well, he wasn’t kidding! He also asked everyone to stay quiet. I admit, I did not enjoy that experience and was so thankful when he turned the lights on and I could see I was not alone and people were all around me. We can feel that way in our dark seasons. That we are totally alone and can’t see anything. Yet, like the people who were around me though I couldn't see them with the lights out, God is with us in our darkness even though we can’t perceive Him. 

Sometimes a dark season in a person’s life is used to either draw them for the very first time to Jesus or to call back a prodigal son who is backsliding. God may use strangers or someone you know to show you His love and forgiveness. You may not see that this is God working through that person because the veil of darkness has blinded your eyes to God’s care over you, but just like those people in the cave who were still there even though I couldn’t see them, God is still there in your dark moments, sending His angels of light to minister to you. For some, those ministers may literally be protecting them from eternal damnation. Look at the Apostle Paul who was literally struck blind (talk about darkness!) to protect him and redirect him from a life of persecuting Christians to a life of following Jesus and ministering for His name's sake. For others, they are being protected from moving so far away from God to protect them from their own harm.

God’s favor is over us even in our darkest seasons, offering His protection.

His Strength

One thing we as humans need protection from is ourselves! We always try to do things in our own strength, and we end up getting ourselves in trouble as a result.  

The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh as we see in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9: “Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  

Some commentators believe that the thorn was actually related to Paul’s eyes—possibly partial blindness from his road to Damascus experience. Since Paul pleaded with the Lord to take it away, this must've caused him some darkness both physically and mentally.

Paul is very transparent here by showing that this “thorn” was sent to him to keep him from being conceited. Basically, protecting him from doing things in his own strength and keeping him dependent upon God.  We’ve certainly seen enough stories in the Bible where people tried to do things for God in their own strength, and there were unpleasant consequences as a result.  

However, this thorn wasn’t sent by God out of malice, but out of love. The Lord wanted Paul to rely on Him and to be protected from himself. How amazing is that?! There is nothing that the Lord allows to happen that He doesn’t already plan on being right there with us! Not only that, by means of dark seasons, but He protects us from making mistakes and suffering pain as a result. 

The Lord’s strength is there for us in our dark seasons. We just need to grab hold of it and let Him carry us through to the light.

His Glory

The Westminster Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God. We were given works especially picked out for us to do before the world began. God has gifted each one of us in a special way to complete these works. But in our selfishness or in our fear, we may not move forward in what He is calling us to do.

We see this in the case of Jonah. Remember, God called him to preach to Ninevah because of their wickedness. But out of fear, Jonah fled and did not obey God. We all know what eventually happened:

“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17

Wow! That is the ultimate of dark places! As a result, Jonah cried out to the Lord, and the Lord caused the great fish to spit him out. Jonah then obeyed God and went to the Ninevites and preached the message he was given. Jonah had to be in darkness in the belly of the fish to see his need to repent and walk in the work God had called him to do.   

I have a friend who became blind when she was in her 40s. One minute she could see and the next her sight was gone. She was plunged into darkness. She, of course, went through a time of struggle and grief in that very dark season, in every sense of the word, but her blindness then became a ministry for her. She would appear before church groups and speak about her faith within her “darkness” and also how God’s people ministered to her. She also brought glory to God in sharing all of these things. My friend may never have had those opportunities of blessing and bringing glory to God in such a unique and powerful way without losing her sight.   

The Lord protects us from missing out on the blessings of completing the works He has prepared for us even when He sends dark seasons. But the greatest protection we receive is knowing that no matter what circumstance brings us into a dark season, God will glorify Himself through it. We might not be freed from the circumstance itself, but God will provide for us in every way so that the darkness will not overtake us. He is our light and life.

Our dark seasons are not pleasant, but may we remember His protection through His favor, His strength, and His glory.   

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Karen Del Tatto is a blogger, author, women's ministry leader, pastor's wife, mom, and grandmother who is passionate about the Word of God. Her blog Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge and her books Choosing to Trust God: Breaking the Habit of Worry, A 30-Day Devotional and Choosing to Trust God Companion Journal reveal her heart for providing Biblical insights to encourage women to grow in and through their struggles while equipping them to overcome. Karen and her husband live in Rhode Island and enjoy walks in the woods, owling, and spending time with their grandchildren.