There are times for each of us when it appears that all light, all hope, all answers, all strength, all is quickly fading, all hope is eeking out of our lives and we can do nothing to stop the darkness from coming. It is a wilderness of soul when we feel that we are at an impass and do not know what to do or where to go. We are tempted to think that we cannot go one step more. We are tempted to think that the Lord has abandoned us.
God led Abraham into the wilderness where he was asked to sacrifice, to kill his only, beloved son--the one for whom he had prayed and waited for years and years.
Joseph was brought unjustly into prison after being falsely accused of immorality by a devious woman. He was left there for 10 years.
Moses kept sheep and wandered the wilderness for 40 years before he became the one who would lead the nation of Israel out of slavery.
Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted.
There is a mysterious value from heaven's point of view to being in the darkness of life and still choosing to believe in a God who seems to have forgotten us. Darkness is part of the school for the soul, to delve into what really matters. To put away all that is frivolous or vain and to sift through what really matters. When we are desperate, we are serious, focussed on what life is all about, what He is all about.
Isaiah reminds us that some darkness is allowed by God, and does not mean He has abandoned us.
Who is among you that fears the LORD, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God. Isaiah 50: 10
Wait....in the darkness. Be still in the darkness. Submit in the darkness.
This passage is interesting because it is suggests the one who is in the darkness is one of God's faithful--one who loves, fears, obeys the Lord --He is the one who is in darkness.
Even in this darkness, God tells us what to do---trust in the name of the Lord our God and rely on Him.
But, when we find ourselves in this place, we see ourselves for what we really are. Our souls are laid bare. We see our limitations, our vulnerability, our weakness, our inability to do anything to save ourselves.
Our works will not help us. We do not have righteousness of our own. Our own strength cannot save us. We will only be saved, if by the mercy of God, He chooses to work and redeem us and restore us.
The situation for each one might be different: a broken marriage, a prodigal or impossible child; financial issues; loneliness; failure, deep soul wounds and rejection at the hands of those who we thought we needed to love us; broken dreams.
Whatever the situation, we feel alone, unnoticed, helpless.
Just the place where God can teach us to rely on Him. He so desires to be the one who fulfills our greatest longings. He wants us to know His voice of guidance, purpose, love and mercy.
I have seen that all of those in my life who are the wisest, truest, most spiritually real and deep, in humility and gentleness seem to really know their savior, have had to walk through many such times of doubt, many such times of testing. And yet, when they have lived through it, they are deeper, more aware of their need for God, more thankful for His mercy,
more focussed on eternity, more compassionate towards those who are lost, more humble in their demeanor.
God is not cruel and he can't be tempted by evil. He is always loving us, watching over us, willing His pleasure and strength. But if we are to be His warriors, we must learn to trust only in Him.
Darkness leads to humility--dependence on Him. Humility leads to developing a dependence on the Holy Spirit, which leads to spiritual strength.And that is the only place real righteousness and strength can come from is from Him.
Sometimes, in all of our efforts to control life and to accomplish our works, we subtly think our success depends on ourselves. Our happiness can be found by striving enough.
And so a loving Father must bring us to our own limitations, so that we can live above our mere worldly focus and become more familiar with His strength and mercy and love and ways.
Without Him, I have no hope, no formula, no ability to live in this futile world.
With Him, and in the depths of the reality of the spiritual world, I find a peace and beauty and mercy I could not have had by seeking to provide it myself. He so longs to be close to us, to whisper His love and goodness and purposes into our ears. But sometimes, He must stop us in our tracks to make us be silent, to make us sit still so that we will focus on Him.
I am a spiritual wimp. I do not like to wait, I do not like patience. I do not submit naturally. But, as a good Father, he holds my hand and leads me to what is really true, and in the end I am thankful.
I have been walking through some darkness with my precious children, each one in his or her own way, seeking answers to the mysteries of their own lives. It is hard for me to walk through--even harder to see them have to walk through. And yet, if I desire them to be holy, I must let him have His way. I know this post is long, but perhaps some of you are in this place and will be ministered by our own life process.
My precious daughter, Sarah, has been going through such a time and wrote about it. I have copied it here:
Perhaps some of you would want to encourage her and pray for her as she walks through her own journey with the Lord.
You can comment on her blog at: thoroughlyalive.com
The day out my window is clear and bright. The wind rushes, mad-eyed, desperate, to catch the fairy child whose touch is coaxing green from the browned old trees with their withered arms. I sit here in my chair, with daffodils on the window sill, with blue sky flooding my eyes, and I am silent. I watch, I breathe, I pray. My Bible is open on my lap, Psalms staring up at me, their pages creased from many years of mornings just like this. I cannot count the number of times I have sat in this chair, hoping for some good, praying for an answer to a miracle with only the sky out my window for comfort. Today, I wait again.
You see, I got some news this week that greatly discouraged me. We all have prayers we carry around, jingling in our pockets, always hoping for a “yes” to finally fall from the sky and free us from the long, shuffling walk of waiting. When the answer is “no,” or seems to be, it’s a dreadful thing. And I mean that literally; the “no” to my prayer this week filled me with a sense of doom as to my future, a confusion that sapped the energy from my bones and made me want to retreat into the darkest corner of my closet. And maybe not come out for awhile.
For two days, I teetered between a mad resolve to answer my loss with new grit-teethed trust, a new dream, a new faith, or on the other hand, an absolute, bleary-eyed bewilderment as to how on earth to take another step forward. There is a black-and-white spirit in me though that pushes me to the decide, even now, what I think about God. The thing is, God is either the good and beautiful one I have always hoped him to be, either he creates light in my darkness and life in my void, is tender, kind, and with me in ways I cannot comprehend, or… he’s not. There’s no in between. If I came to the point where I believed, truly, that God did not care, I don’t know what else I’d want to do but expire on the spot.
So I came to my room today, opened to those Psalms because I needed some grace by which to hold to my trust in him. I don’t understand why this closed door came, I don’t know why I must struggle with health, I don’t know why the beloved ones around me must walk long years in hard times. Who knows what battles rage in the heavens. Who knows what darkness resists our persistent faith in God. All I knew today, was that I must find the way to walk on in a blind, but sure faith. So I opened to my good old Psalms and found this:
God sent from on high, He drew me out of many waters He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me… The Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because he delighted in me. The Lord saves an afflicted people… You light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness… For who is a rock, except our God?
Who indeed. This is the truth that is the breath in my lungs today. This is the hope by which I will endure every weary minute, and by which I will rebuild my dreams. This is the life that will seep into the quiet minutes of these long, windy mornings, when I wonder if I am alone, to whisper, whisper, God with us, Immanuel. So the silence in which this blue, spring minute finds me, is one of rest. Spring leaps from branch to sky outside, and even into my heart, because God, beloved God, illumines my darkness and holds me by the hand.
May you be blessed this lovely day.
How comforting to know that after the night, the brightness of the full day will come, the light will eventually dawn. Our darkness will be turned to light, He is with us. He light will be forever and ever the same throughout eternity.
Jesus is the light of the dawn.