In the Midst of Darkness
"...and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." (Exodus 20:21)
"Often we foolishly wish that all our days would be bright and clear. Then when the clouds come we become discouraged and fearful. We fail to realize that the dark clouds of afflictions and trials are but God's vehicles of blessings sent to soften and mellow our hearts and make them fruitful and useful for Him. Remember, God sees right through the thick clouds and watches and cares for His own. Trust Him and be of good cheer."
(By Mrs. Charles E. Cowman in "Traveling Toward Sunrise")
In the midst of darkness... not exactly a very easy place to be. In fact, it is a very hard place to be; but truly it is one of great blessing. I have found myself in this very place recently. Not knowing what lies before or what is even around me. All is dark. I cannot see my way. The night seems to cloud all visible understanding. The path ahead is unknown. And yet, I can still see and understand one very important truth. God is in the midst of our darkness. And His sweet presence makes all the difference.
"...The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness." (II Chronicles 6:1)
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed: for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)
Praise Him. He has not left us alone to our own devices or counsel. He is there with us. He is a comfort. He cheers our hearts. We can know that "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28)... because He is near. For He has promised:
"Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am." (Isaiah 58:9)
He hears. He answers. He understands. He cares. He is there...in the darkest of our days. You are not forgotten. Never forsaken!
"Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee...." (Isaiah 49:8)
In our own human understanding and reasoning...the idea of not knowing what lies ahead of us...not knowing the paths which we are to take that life so provides...is a very uncomfortable and insecure place to be. And in many ways, a very challenging place. We just want to know what is ahead...what the Lord is doing. What the future holds. To us, it may not even make any sense. But then, we do not see as Christ sees. We do not understand as He does. We are but men; He is God.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8 and 9)
“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. “ (Isaiah 45:3)
What we would call uncomfortable, even, unreasonable... He calls “the treasures of darkness”. And why? Because we see Him; and ONLY Him. Because, in all reality, we really do not need to see anything else. He is enough.
“ We ought not to worry. God will take care of us. It is important only that we are His and obey and do our best. His ways may be 'mysterious', but be sure that with infinite wisdom and infinite goodness He plans for His own.” -Mrs. Charles. E. Cowman-
The darkness is not darkness to Him. He sees our need. He knows the paths we should take. And He chooses those paths that are the absolute best for us. He cannot lie. He cannot lead us in a wrong way. He has made no mistakes of which to ever regret or led in a way to which He has ever wished He had done something different. We can trust Him.
“As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” (Psalm 18:30-32)
All may yet be dark to our understanding, we may not know which way we are to turn or what it is we are to be doing, but be sure that God does. And He will lead His dear children accordingly, if only we would but quietly wait to hear His still small voice.
“ And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21)
He will show us everything that we could ever possibly need to know...even down to the little details. We do not have to rush ahead of Him or make our own last minute decisions. He knows our needs, even more than we know them. And He will show us the ways in which we are to take just in time. He will make our path known and we will see it. His timing is perfect. There can be no doubt or fear, when God is speaking.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”. (Psalm 119:105)
“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28)
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5 and 6)
“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” (Psalm 128:1 and 2)
The Lord promises that... “happy shalt thou be”....”and it shall be well with thee”. I wonder that we really believe this? Far too often, we somehow fool ourselves into thinking that God's will for our lives will be only demanding and utterly miserable. That when we finally surrender ourselves to Christ, we have instantly thrown away all hopes of happiness and precious potential dreams. We may obey, simply to avoid “the consequences” of disobedience... but certainly not with a willing and grateful heart. How sad this is. How wrong a view of our God! Can we not see that the same loving Saviour who was so willing to lay down His very life for sinful men, is still the same gracious Saviour…who yet continues to give Himself for us all our days? How He desires to meet our deepest needs? Can we imagine that the same God who loved us with such an unselfish, sacrificial love...would suddenly stop? Can we see that He desires our best? That He wants only our highest possible good? He did not come to make robot slaves simply to bend to His unreasonable, demanding will. No, indeed He came to love the unlovable. To bless, so much more than we could ever deserve to be blessed! He delights “to give thee the desires of thine heart”. (Psalm 37:4) How do you see Him?
“ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7: 7-11)
“If I truly believe in Him, I'll trust Him to desire for me that which is for my highest good, and to have planned for it's fulfillment.” -Helen Roseveare-
There can be no sweeter, better place than the center of God's perfect will for your life. It is a place of blessing. Of perfect peace and rest. A place of unspeakable joy and happiness. If only we would allow HIM to lead us! How much better life would be! And to trust Him. That even though we do not understand His ways, though they be mysterious...that they are good, because HE is good.
One of the greatest blessings through times of darkness is that we have only Christ to depend upon. Our own counsel and understanding is removed. We are forced (in a matter of speaking) to rely only on the wisdom of God. And this is where He desires us. That He can be all. That He can show Himself strong on our behalf. That we can learn to trust Him. And that He might be glorified as our sufficient all knowing Saviour. Another great blessing that comes in our night season, is how Christ will grow and mold us that He might use us. To come away with a song in our hearts and lessons that will not be easily forgotten; but valued and treasured for the days yet to come. We do not know what an encouragement and help they might prove to be to others along life's road.
“Some months ago, in the late autumn, the writer was in the hothouse of one of our florists. We were in the cellar, and in the dimly lighted place, one could see arranged in regular file, long rows of flower pots. The florist explained that in these pots had been planted the bulbs for their winter flowers. It was best for them that they be rooted in the dark. Not in the glaring sunlight, but in the subdued shadows, their life-giving roots were putting forth. They would be ready for the open day a little later. Then their gay colors would cheer many hearts. Then their sweet perfumes would laden the winter air. Rooted in the shadows to bloom in the light! Roots then roses.”
(By Mrs. Charles E. Cowman in “Traveling Toward Sunrise”)
We want the sunshine! The bright days of ease and comfort! But, we cannot be used, unless we are willing to be broken. To be rooted in the dark that God could someday use us in the light. Have you ever noticed that stars can only be seen at night? Or that the beautiful sunrise can be enjoyed only because it was first dark? These are “the treasures of darkness”.
“I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight:” (Isaiah 45:2)
Although we may feel like a ship upon the night's sea in the midst of a thick heavy fog... He is still leading and does only that which is best. We will not be dashed upon the rocks. He can make the crooked places straight again...and be sure that night will always fade into a glorious day!
“Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night, God leads His dear children along.
Some thro' the waters, some thro' the flood, some thro' the fire, but all thro' the blood;
Some thro' great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.”
(“God Leads Us Along”- Written by G. A. Young)
"We can never stumble in the darkness if He leads us." -J.R. Miller-
"We can never stumble in the darkness if He leads us." -J.R. Miller-