Treasures Gleaned in the Darkness
Michelle Dacus had confidence that God was with her and was working in her life, but making it through each day of her recovery from major reconstructive surgery was a struggle – to put it mildly. Her doctors had no idea how long her debilitating leg pain would last. They couldn’t even promise that it would get better. As a formerly active and energetic 18-year-old, she simply could not imagine a life of constant pain, around the clock medical care, and never being able to walk again.
As she faced the harsh reality of her situation, Michelle remembers asking the Lord what possible purpose her pain could serve. When she received no discernable answer, she resigned herself to trusting God no matter what. She remembers praying, “Lord, I’m going to have to trust you because if I get angry, my spirit will be worse; I’ll be empty. I’m choosing to trust You to work in my life even when I have no clue as to what You’re doing.”
Then the darkness completely overwhelmed her. Michelle was hospitalized with a life-threatening infection. For seven days she batted a 106-degree fever. She was packed on ice and put on powerful medications. “Being in the hospital again was my low point,” Michelle explains. “I just had a sick feeling of ‘Lord, where is this going?'”
When her fever broke, Michelle went home, but in her heart she was ready to go home to heaven. “I said to the Lord, ‘I just give up. I surrender. I am ready just to be with You.’ I remember praying, ‘just take me home.’ I felt that if I woke up in the morning and was still on earth, I would be disappointed.”
The next morning, Michelle woke up – in her bedroom. But something was different. She actually noticed the rose her father had placed on her nightstand, something he had done many times during her illness. “Up to that point, the flowers seemed like just another reminder of my sickness. But I smelled this rose, and it smelled good. I felt as if the Lord was saying to me that this was a turning point, a new beginning. That morning I knew in my heart that God had chosen to keep me going.”
Slowly, Michelle began to heal. When she was strong enough to read the Bible for herself, she remembered a card that her Sunday school teacher had given her before the surgery. Curious, she looked up the Isaiah 45:3 Scripture reference written inside. “As I read it, I just started weeping. It was as if I could hear the Lord speaking directly to me, ‘I will give you the treasure of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by name.’ When I read it, my heart was restored. It was as if the light came on.” That very morning she began recording in her journal all of the riches and treasures God had given her in the darkness.
When she was finally strong enough to go to church for the first time, Michelle received even more treasures from the hand of God. “I walked down the aisle with my walker and every family in our church was clapping. Then, as I was looking at the bulletin, I saw that we were going to sing my favorite hymn, ‘It Is Well With My Soul.’ I just cried. It was such a gift to stand with my walker and sing to God:
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul
“Being able to worship him at that time affirmed everything. I had known of God’s faithfulness in my head, but that morning I discovered I could sing that hymn from my heart.”
Today Michelle carried in her journal a written testimony of God’s faithfulness during her illness, and she carries those treasures in her heart as well. “The greatest treasures God gave me in the darkness aren’t tangible,” she explains. “I can look at my body and see that God healed it, but the treasures in my heart aren’t visible. I want everyone who goes through the darkness to know that they can receive these treasures too.
“Being in the darkness gives us a special opportunity to find a place of contentment with the Lord – even when everything in life is upside down. Often we can’t see the treasures when we’re in the midst of the darkness. I know I didn’t. But, if we can endure through Christ’s strength, He’ll give us a treasure that will outlast the riches of the wealthiest man on earth. The riches of earth will perish. We cannot take them with us. But the treasures gleaned in the darkness of suffering are eternal. I’ll take those treasures with me for the rest of my life – and into eternity.”