Our Scriptural text is not talking about someone who has wandered away from God. This person fears and loves the Lord. The “fear of the Lord” means “love on its knees.” The person who fears God the most loves God the most. This person obeys the voice of God. There is 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. There is no reason to deny it. There are tens of thousands of Christians across the world that fear and love the Lord and yet are experiencing darkness. More than 150,000 Christians were martyred last year throughout the world. Job said, “God has put darkness in my path” (Job 19:8). Habakkuk exclaimed, “How long shall I cry and you not hear (Hab. 1:2). John the Baptist sent messengers from the prison and asked Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah or should we look for someone else?” 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 to them. If 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. If you are in darkness, it does not necessarily mean that you are out of the will of God or that you have sinned before the Lord. The second lesson is:
When have you grown the most spiritually in your life? Has it been the during the sunlight or the darkness? Is it not true that when Mr. Trouble has knock on our heart’s door, we have matured more than at other times in our life? Faith is like film: It is better developed in the darkness. How does God develop our faith in the darkness? God tells us to take two steps. First, we are to look to the Lord (“trust in the Lord”). Warren Wiersbe has said, “We live by promises, not by explanations.” Just because it does not make sense to us, does not mean that it does not make sense to God. Just because it does not make sense now, does not mean that it will not make sense later. Thomas Watson has said, “Where reason cannot wade, faith must swim.” We must continue to stand on God’s Word regardless what is going on in life. God’s Word never changes. It remains constant through all of the seasons of our life. We must continue to live according to God’s Word even though tough times come our way. We continue to give our tithes and offerings even though there may have been a financial reversal. We continue to trust in the Lord even though we may not understand Him. We continue to attend God’s house even though tough times come to our family. We continue to have our quiet time with God even though sickness comes to us. We simply continue to stand on God’s Word. The promises of God remain the same whether the sun is shining or darkness comes to us. The second step is to lean upon the Lord (“let him stay upon his God”).
When you are in the dark, you do not have to have an explanation, you need God. It is more important to be with God in the valley of darkness than to be on sunlight peaks without Him. 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. Sometimes, God removes all the answers in order to give us Himself. A relationship is more important than a reason. God desires to even use us in the midst of darkness. John Milton, in the darkness of his blindness, wrote Paradise Lost. While John Bunyan was in the Bedford Jail, London, England, he wrote Pilgrims Progress. During John the Revelator’s exile on the Island of Patmos, he wrote the Book of Revelation. God wants to develop our faith. Never doubt in the dark what you learned in the light. The test of our character is not what we do in a worship service. The test of our character is what we do in the dark. Shortly before Mother Theresa’s death, she said, “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until all you have is Jesus.”
The third lesson is: III. FAITH’S DISCERNMENT: SOME THINGS ARE SEEN IN THE DARK THAT CANNOT BE SEEN IN THE LIGHT
(Isa. 50: 3-4)
You will realize that one day that in the darkness you were learning some truths. There are treasures of darkness. For example, have you ever heard someone say, “The stars are out tonight.” The fact is that the stars are out in the daytime, but we cannot see them because of the sunlight. There are some treasures of darkness that are only revealed at night. The stars are there to praise the Lord (Ps. 146:3). We would never have a star to praise the Lord without darkness. Do you have a star in your darkness with which to praise the Lord? I want to share a few of the treasures of darkness. First, in the light we see that which is near, but the darkness we see that which is far away. Second, in the light we may see more clearly, but in the darkness we see further. Third, we may think our brightest thoughts in the day, but we will think our deepest thoughts during the night. Fourth, we may learn more about others during the day, but we will learn more about ourselves during the dark. It has been said, “We can dress as though we are intelligent, but when we open our mouth people will know whether we really are intelligent or not? When someone has gone through a dark period in his/her life, they will learn some truths that will remain with them the rest of their lives. Often times, Christians revert to clichés when they do not know what else to say to the person who is walking through darkness. When we do not know what to say, it is important that we do not bring someone else’s pain down to our level. Just simply recognize that we do not understand because have not undergone what they are experiencing in their life. There is a discipline of darkness. This kind of darkness teaches us when to speak and when to remain silent. The fourth lesson is:
(Isa. 50:11) One of the most dangerous temptations is that we will be tempted to light our own fire in the darkness. If God has ordained the darkness, then we must wait upon God. We must never get the idea that darkness can overcome light. Darkness cannot withstand the light. Darkness will run from 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 situations 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 to light your own fire. In other words, do not try to undue what God is doing. A manmade fire is deceptive. It is not a sure guide for one to follow. It is like a man getting up in the middle of the night with his flashlight and going over to his sundial to see what time it is. God says that if we light our own fire, in the midst of God ordained darkness, then we will suffer. For example, God told Abraham that he and Sarah would eventually have a child of their own. God gave a promise. However, God did not fulfill that promise immediately. Abraham, in the midst of his darkness of doubt, created his own fire with Hagar. Ishmael was born. Think about the suffering that came to Abraham and the world because he did not wait on God in the midst of his darkness. Has darkness come to your life? Are you waiting on God or are you creating your own fire?
The final lesson is:
FAITH’S DAYBREAK: IF YOUR SUN HAS SET, IT WILL RISE AGAIN
God will awaken us in the morning. Even though you may be in darkness now, there is a better day coming. If you are in darkness, then trust God. God will eventually turn every tear to a pearl, every hurt into a hallelujah, every Calvary into an Easter. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). One of these days, God is going to pull the shades of night and pin them with the stars. He will then open the door of the morning and flood your world with his light and love. You will see things and know truth that you have never seen or known before. There is a better day coming for you. For non-Christians, this is as good as it will ever get for them. As Christians, this is as bad as it will ever get for us. There is coming a day when we will step out of time into eternity and will see the fullness of the glory of God.
In like manner, we can feel the warmth of God’s presence, but we have never fully seen the full glory of God. However, there is coming a time when the child of God will see the face of God.
We will fully see what we slightly experienced in this life. Just remember when the lights go out, God is still there in the midst of your darkness. He wants to give you a star so you can praise Him more. Our trials become stars in order to praise the Lord.
When the lights go out, reflect on our faith’s devotion, development, discernment, danger, and daybreak.