Going dark is military lingo for the sudden termination of communication. The term used to describe a scenario in which communication appears to have ceased, but in reality, has just moved from a public communication channel, where it could be monitored, to a private communication channel that prevents eavesdropping.
16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
If the red letters in the Gospels point to the words that Jesus spoke, then the black one’s tell us the actions that He took. Here we have a short, simple, yet profound scripture, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed—Jesus “going dark.” It seems that He is terminating communication, but in reality, He is removing Himself from the public to spend private time with the Father, with no eavesdropping or distractions. As His disciples we should follow His example and learn to go dark, to have moments of rest where it is just Him and us—no distractions, eyes locked on Him, listening, taking in all that He has to offer.
In the beginning, God established the sabbath, a day of rest. With it He gave us permission and instruction to go dark—to recharge, get new vision, dream again, be restored, be strengthened, and be transformed. Here are several examples of Jesus going into solitude found in scripture that I believe are worth looking into.
To prepare for a major task Luke 4:1-2, 14-15. After Jesus was baptized, He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness. After this He was tempted by Satan and then began His public ministry.
To recharge after hard work Mark 6:30-32. Jesus sent the 12 disciples out to do ministry. When they returned, He encouraged them to separate from the people who were following them to rest.
To work through grief Matthew 14:1-13. After Jesus learned that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded, He went away by Himself. Yes, even the Son of God grieves.
Before making an important decision Luke 6:12-13. Early in His ministry Jesus spent the whole night alone in prayer. The next day He chose his 12 disciples.
In a time of distress Luke 22:39-44. Hours before Jesus was arrested, He went to the Mt. of Olives and went a short distance away from His disciples to pray. He was in great emotional agony knowing what he was about to face.
To focus on prayer Luke 5:16. Many times in Jesus’ ministry He spent time alone in prayer.
19 How abundant are the good things
that you have stored up for those who fear you,
that you bestow in the sight of all,
on those who take refuge in you.
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from all human intrigues;
you keep them safe in your dwelling
from accusing tongues.
This Psalm speaks of more benefits of going dark. We find refuge in God and He hides us from human intrigues, while keeping us safe from accusing tongues. Going dark, however, does not mean, isolating yourself from the rest of the body of Christ. There is value when we come together and pray for each other. James speaks clearly of this:
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
There is value in being a part of the body of Christ and receiving prayer. There is value in going dark and just focusing on Jesus. I believe that as disciples we need to be active weekly in both of these activities. Jesus is the example of how can achieve this.
Thank You for being an example for me to follow. Help me reach out to those around me when I am in need. Holy Spirit help go dark and focus on Jesus so that I may be restored and strengthened. Thank you for hiding me in Your presence and keeping me safe. Thank for establishing time for You and I to connect. AMEN!
Your servant in Christ,