The Darkroom

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Darkness welcomed me as I walked through the door. Pausing to allow my eyes to adjust to the red low-wattage glow, I smiled, anticipating the day. Although working in the darkroom sometimes meant no light at all, I liked the discoveries I knew lay ahead. Chemicals, wash, paper—all were light-sensitive but the best images resulted from the dark.

The room was a sensory overload, its dimness matched only by its scent. The air was heavy with the acrid, metallic smell of the chemicals, so potent that it seemed to crystallize on my tongue. The scent was unlike anything I had ever encountered, with a vinegary bite that clung to my hair and clothes, leaving a dry, mineral residue on my skin.

Alone in this sanctuary, I was accompanied only by the equipment and the film. The massive enlarger emitted an intense yet brief light through the negative onto the paper. But like a strange invisible ink, change wasn’t immediate until bathed in a sequence of trays that slowly drew forth the image. Developer, stop bath, fixer—each had its role, each had its time, dictated by the print itself. 

Over a lifetime, I’ve seen how the Father places great value in low-light situations. Andrew Murray says: “Faith grows best in the dark.” The deeper the darkness, the more we must trust. I’m learning that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt but control. 

What if we appreciated our darkroom experience, recognizing each sensory stimulant as necessary for life’s process? What if we recognized that the Father often leads us into the dark night of the soul to embed His image more clearly in us? Surrendering to His darkroom method is the quickest way to the light.

Faith makes no sense to our rational minds. Yet, relinquishing control is the key to being assured of things hoped for and convinced of things not seen. Yielding Him the reins is the victory that overcomes the world. Surrendering to His plan actually enlarges our faith.

Relinquishing the timing to Him is one of the most challenging parts of faith. I may believe in His best today and tomorrow, but when I can’t see results by the third day, I lose hope. “Did I hear correctly? Will He accomplish what I hoped?” Yet, Scottish author George MacDonald says, “The principal part of faith is patience.” 

Our Master Photographer accompanies us on every trip to the darkroom. Nothing can separate you from Him. Rather than fearing the gloom, let’s remember that “even the darkness is not dark to Him” (Psalm 139:12). Continue to be present to Him, for “He alone reveals deep secrets and mysteries and knows what lies in darkness, for He radiates glory-light all around Him” (Daniel 2:22 TPT). His glory-light is enough for both of you.