Who among you fears the Lord and obeys his servant? If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.
Isaiah 50:10 reminds us that there will be times in our lives, as God’s people, that we have to serve God in the darkness. In our comfort based Christianity we don’t like this idea very much and what makes it especially difficult to accept is that it is not talking about someone who has wandered away from God. This is about the person who fears and loves the Lord not the one who has sinned and fallen away. To “fear the Lord” means to love Him on our knees, this is the person who is obeying the voice of God yet surrounded by darkness. In these trying times when we find it difficult to see very far ahead our trust is tested as we question whether God knows what is best for us. The problem is that our ideal of Christianity has created a distorted idea that if a person becomes a Christian, it will be all honey and no bees; all sunlight and roses and no rain and weeds. Christians today desire to be “overcomers” but we do not want much to overcome, we desire to go to heaven but would rather not die in order to get there! In its very essence life is both terrific and tragic, filled with melody and misery, high times and hard times and in the darkness it is hard to stand when we do not understand!
Are you experiencing a dark time in your life? The destruction of a relationship; a broken heart; being taken advantage of; the devastation of a wayward child; financial collapse, marital catastrophe; failing health? The list could go on and on but the bottom line is we are left unable to make any sense of what is happening in our life. As Christians we love to studied our lessons, learn our formulas, memorized the promises in God’s Word, and think we have it all figured out. But what do we do when we are suddenly plunged into deep, deep darkness? In those seasons when we fail to mentally grasp what is transpiring in our lives we question God and we ask why. I think the question that Christians ask more than any other is “Why?” Why the darkness, why did my child have to die? Why could we not carry this child full term? Why did my spouse have to break my heart? Why did my business have to go bankrupt? Why did God allow sickness to come to me and those I love? Why did God heal that person and not heal me? Why? Why? Why? When we were in school we did the lessons first and the tests came later but in life we take the tests first and learn the lessons later. So the question greater than Why is What, What will I do and what will I learn when the lights go out and the darkness comes into my life?
There are many lessons that God wants us to learn along the path of life and several lessons we need to learn when we are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, are:
- Devotion doesn’t determine darkness
There are thousands of Christians across the world that fear and love the Lord and yet they are experiencing terrible darkness. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Christians are martyred each year throughout the world. Job said, “God has plunged my path into darkness” (Job 19:8). Habakkuk exclaimed, “How long shall I cry and you not hear” (Hab. 1:2). When John the Baptist was in prison he sent messengers to asked Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah or should we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:20) Each of these great men of God came to a time in their life that they did not understand or comprehend why and what was fully happening. When you read the stories of great saints in history, there is hardly one of them who did not experience the dark night of the soul. Being in darkness does not necessarily mean that you are out of the will of God or that you have sinned. We tend to believe that if we are devoted we will be free from trouble but we need to remember that our devotion does not determine our darkness. In the mist of the darkness our devotion can turn to feelings of being downtrodden and discouraged but we must remember that for the Christian pain is never permanent.