English Standard Version (ESV)
There is a default setting in our minds -- we tend to assume the worst in so many situations. We get wrapped up in catastrophic thinking whenever the smallest thing goes wrong. We so easily make the transition from forgetting one thing in our jobs to imagining ourselves as homeless and living under a freeway overpass. Someone passes us in the hallway without saying hello and we automatically assume they despise us and are busy plotting our downfall. We feel a minor twinge in our back and we assume there is a massive tumor eating away at our lives. It just happens.
Here, we're told that darkness shall cover the earth. This part makes sense to us. But the rest of the promise is where God breaks through and shatters whatever expectations we may have of fear and trembling. In the midst of night, we're told, the Lord's glory will be seen upon us, and nations (presumably in darkness) will rush to the light, eager to see whose power can break the night. So many who have believed in their own ability to stave off fate will suddenly be humbled, and they will come to the realization that the hope in us is born as a baby in a manger, hung on a cross as a criminal, and witnessed not by those in power, but by those who were willing to be led by a Savior and reborn in grace.