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.
God wants to teach His children how to know Him apart from feelings. He wants to deepen your walk with Him and show you how to rely on Him through faith so you can experience true rest in your relationship with Him. As we go through the darkness we must remember that it is simply a pathway to greater spiritual maturity, God is still with you and His purpose is both redemptive and constructive.
• What is revealed in the light is often developed in the dark
When do we seem to grow the most spiritually, during the sunlight or the darkness? When the difficulty of darkness comes knocking at the door of our heart we may moan but we also seem to mature more than at other times in our life. When I was in college I developed all the film for the newspaper and yearbook and so I spent many hours in a darkroom. To develop film you need darkness so you don’t expose it to light and ruin it. Sometimes faith is like film, it is better developed in the darkness. As Christians we talk a lot about light, as we should, but there are some benefits to God directed darkness. So how does God develop our faith in the darkness? It is really a two-step process.
First, we are to look to the Lord as Isaiah 50:10 says “trust in the Lord” Warren Wiersbe said, “We live by promises, not by explanations.” We need to remember that just because it does not make sense to us, does not mean that it does not make sense to God. Also, just because it does not make sense now, does not mean that it will not make sense later. Trusting allows us to continue to stand on God’s Word regardless of what is going on in life. God’s Word never changes; it is one of the few things that remain constant through all of the seasons of our life. It has been said that where reason cannot wade, faith must swim. We must continue to live according to God’s Word even though tough times come our way. Will we continue to give our tithes and offerings even though there may have been a financial crisis? Will we continue to trust in the Lord even though we may not understand Him? Will we continue to attend and worship in God’s house even though through the pain? Will we continue to quietly meet with God even though our dry darkness? When we commit to trusting we continue to stand on God’s Word because His promises remain the same whether there is light or darkness.
The second step is that in the darkness when we cannot see we need to lean upon the Lord. Our human nature wants to lean upon answers but when you are in the dark, you need God more than you need an explanation. Answers are nice but they don’t always prop us up! The truth is that there are some things that I want that I don’t need and some things I need that I don’t want. Only God can truly discern between what is bad and good and what is good and best for us. Sometimes, God removes all the answers in order to give us Himself and a relationship is more important than a reason. Rely on another means shifting the weight and resting on them. As we rest on our relationship with Him we find that God desires to use us even in the midst of darkness. John Milton, in the darkness of his blindness, wrote Paradise Lost, John Bunyan wrote Pilgrims Progress while in prison for preaching. During John’s exile on the Island of Patmos he wrote the Book of Revelation. God wants to develop our faith and we should never doubt in the dark what God revealed in the light. The test of our character is not what we do in the light but what we do in the dark. It is more important to be with God in the valley of darkness than to be on sunlight peaks without Him.
• Darkness can reveal what cannot be seen in the light
Isaiah 50: 3-4 says “I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.” The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.”
As we look back we realize that in the darkness we have learned some great truths, these are what I call the treasures of darkness. Have you ever heard someone say, “The stars are out tonight.” The truth is that the stars are out in the daytime, but they are obscured by the light. There are some treasures of darkness that are only revealed in the dark. The stars are there to praise the Lord (Ps. 146:3) and they do it in the darkness. Do you have a star in your darkness with which to praise the Lord? I have discovered several treasures of darkness. In the light we see things that are near, but the darkness lets us see further. We may think our brightest thoughts in the day, but we will think our deepest thoughts during the night. We may learn more about others during the day, but we will learn more about ourselves during the dark.
• God’s darkness is better than man’s light
Isaiah 50:11 says “But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment.”
One of the most dangerous temptations in the dark is to light our own fire in an attempt to produce our own light. If God has ordained the darkness, then we must wait on God. We can wait with Him in the darkness because darkness can never overcome His light. Darkness cannot withstand God’s light, it runs from His light. If you do not believe this is true, then turn on the light in a darkened room and open the closet. You will find that the darkness is hiding inside the closet! If you are in a lighted room, darkness cannot overcome the light. Darkness can never chase away light. You cannot open the front door of your home and let in the dark. The only way that darkness can enter is that the light be removed. So, if the light has been removed from the rooms of your life, then God in his wisdom has allowed you to be in the darkness. If God is the One who has allowed darkness to come your way, then do not be foolish and try to light your own fire. Do not be deceived into trying to undo with a man-made fire what God is doing. Often the endurance of darkness is preparation for great light, it is better to serve God in the darkness than to be standing alone in our own light. Will you trust and lean on God in your darkness?