Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

The Treasures of Darkness

We often equate darkness with sorrow, misery, get-me-the-hell-out-of-here reaction. At least I do. That’s why I keep a mammoth Happy Lite on my smallish cubicle at work.

But darkness can also be a treasure.

Say what?

J. R. Miller writes this in “From Streams in the Desert” by L. B. Cowman:

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are special rooms devoted to the spinning of the world’s finest lace, all with the most delicate patterns. The rooms are kept completely dark, except for the light that falls directly on the developing pattern, from one very small window. Only one person sits in each small room, where the narrow rays of light fall upon the threads he is weaving, for lace is always more beautifully and delicately woven when the weaver himself is in the dark, with only his work in the light.


Sometimes the darkness in our lives is worse, because we cannot even see the web we are weaving or understand what we are doing. Therefore we are unable to see any beauty or possible good arising from our experience. Yet, if we are faithful to forge ahead and “if we do not give up” Gal. 6:9, someday we will know that the most exquisite work of our lives was done during those days when it was the darkest.

If you seem to be living in deep darkness because God is working in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Simply go forward in faith and in love, never doubting Him. He is watching and will bring goodness and beauty from all your pain and tears.

This metaphor for hope reminded me of the story of 16th-century sculptors that I explained in my Commencement address to the students of Saint Mary’s College. (Note: the sculptor story and the lace story are not my discoveries—both came to me via a beautiful friend who is a messenger of hope.) In the speech I wrote:


According to a popular legend, dishonest sculptors in 16th-century Rome and Greece would use wax to fill in the cracks and crevices of marble to make the surface appear solid. The wax would disintegrate, of course, right after the sculpture was made. This happened so often that stonecutters began to stamp blocks of authentic marble with the Latin words, Sine Cere, or “without wax.” That’s where the word sincere found its origins.

To be sincere, then, doesn’t mean that we don’t have cracks and fractures, but that we don’t attempt to fill in those imperfections with things that don’t stand the test of time.

I believe that God lives in the space between the cracks and fractures of our souls. It is God that grounds and shelters our being and gives us the sense of safety and security that is needed to make ourselves vulnerable before each other, and then to go beyond ourselves to spread love to the rejected and hope to the hopeless.


Amid all the counseling, medications and therapies I’ve tried over the years, it is ultimately my faith in a loving God that has held me together during the darkest of times. When nothing else could convince me to stick around, I became a scared child in the arms of God—and reminded myself that I didn’t have to do anything or write anything or be anyone for God to love me and use me as an instrument of his great love.

God is the reason I can be Sine Cere.

And so it is with you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Penny

    Just a beautiful article. It came to me in grace and filled a hole today… Thank you!!

  • Amy Karon

    Thanks for this insightful and lovely post. So much of finding peace in life seems to come from accepting and being with the dark times without struggling to suppress or flee from them. When I sit with darkness, sometimes the threads of my beliefs and habits reveal themselves even more clearly than they would in times of light.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Deb (OLD FLY GIRL)

    What a beautiful article, Therese. It is a story of my life also in so many ways. All the meds & therapy are a necessary part of my life, but they alone do not keep me whole. It’s my faith that holds me together in all the broken places. Faith (belief) in a loving God & Savior that has made such beauty of my life, while many times working in the dark. I’ve learned that just because I don’t feel Him there at times, it does not mean He’s NOT there, weaving patterns through my circumstances & ultimately my character. I have found incredible peace & freedom from fear because I know He will never abandon me! May God grant you His abundant Grace today, and may you be at peace in knowing He is there even in the darkness.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment L

    “””WOW””” This really hit home with me … Many years ago GOD gave a “word” of Prophecy to me ‘He would give me a ”treasure of darkness” To be very honest here I did’nt understand what a ‘treasure of darkness was” until reading this Article, It’s been so long ago , and i try to convince my self it was’nt true ( just a moment ago , i told myself to let it go !!! ) BUT everytime i try to ”forget” HIS words, he alway reminds me , Like with this post , What an amazing awesome GOD we serve !

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rose Hogan

    This information put my triump over darkness into words. Keep writing encouraging material.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Diana

    I love this post and please know that I feel all your posts shed light into life every day. Bless You Therese

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Debra

    I identify well with this post which says in essence to me “only God”!

    I would like to know what brand of lite you use for SAD.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment MissAbigail

    My second copy of Lettie Cowman’s book is now falling apart, just like the one I inherited from my Mom who read it every morning as she was raising me in a faraway desert. Streams indeed. A bit of grace this morning from you, Therese, and being the word-geek that I am, thank you for “sine Cere” and the affirmation of resting as a “scared child in the arms of God.” Namaste.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment deb

    Does anyone know when this was originally posted? As usual it hits the spot.

    You are one of few things that have given me hope. Thank you.


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Melissa

    what an amazing article it is so true not to grow weary in well doing!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lin

    You’ve shown me a way to understand the treasure of darkness. I’ve always felt it was
    something I should embrace, but couldn’t explain why I felt this way. It seems when I
    am there is when I feel closest to Him. Thank you for sharing the meaning of the word
    Sine Cere. It brings me great comfort to think I rest in His arms. Bless you Therese

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment george smith

    Great article! I thought I would share this one too. It’s about how being happy can improve your relationship with God:

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