One of my favorite Scriptures and perhaps yours is Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you’ says the Lord, ‘to prosper you and to give you a future.” My heart jumps when I let that sink in. I love it that I have a Heavenly Father who takes joy in seeing me prosper as I take joy in seeing my three sons prosper. Whether it is my oldest son doing well at work, my middle son doing well at school, or my youngest scoring a basket, I get pumped! I just have to stop for a second and tell anyone who might feel like God doesn’t love you or want to see you do well, it’s hogwash! HOGWASH, I tell you! He wants you to do well, exceedingly well, more than you can imagine.
In the same way, it hurts when we go through dark times. These dark times are confusing because we are thinking to ourself that God wants us to flourish so why I am going through such a dark time. The Lord’s plan is not to harm me, yet I am being harmed. The Lord does not want to see me in pain, yet I am suffering. God promised to never leave me nor forsake me, but I sure don’t see Him now.
Can the darkness of this moment overpower the Lord? I don’t think so. I must keep my faith and remember that He is still Almighty God. When the night reigns seemingly without resistance, I must find my faith. Though I am hurting, I must remember that He is the Compassionate God. He hurts when I hurt. And if He does not want me to suffer, and He is still God Supreme, then I must grasp the reality that, though it is hurting Him to see me hurt, He has a purpose in the darkness.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
Compassion is the pain we feel when someone we love is hurting, and the Lord is compassionate. In His compassion, He will not allow the darkness to consume us and His compassions, His mercies are new every morning. The only problem with this is that in the Jewish calendar, the day starts at night. It’s as if the Lord was letting us know from the very beginning that we will have to go through the darkness first. In our American culture the day starts in the morning. We might be tempted to think that we experience His mercies first, but before the mercies come, before the compassion moves God to break the night. Before His plans are fulfilled, there will be some dark nights and we had better learn how to endure the darkness.
God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.
The Lord teaches through creation. Even in the darkness, there is light. The Lord truly never leaves us. Though I may be in the darkest moment of my life, I know He is with me. I must strain my eyes at times and search to find Him, not like the day when He shines so bright. Nevertheless, even in the darkness, there is light. He is with you even then.
I called on your name, O Lord,
from the depths of the pit.
56 You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears
to my cry for relief.”
57 You came near when I called you,
and you said, “Do not fear.”
When we cry out to Him to rescue us from the shadows, He comes near. At first this sounds good, but then I think about it. I don’t want the Lord to only come near to me. I want Him to come to me, all the way. I remember how Christ came walking on the water in the darkest point of the night. The disciples were in the dark enduring a horrible storm. Jesus did not come into the boat. He passed by. He passed by!?! I don’t want a God who passes by. I want a God who gets into the boat. Yet, therein lies the purpose of the darkness. Peter went from fearing the storm to walking on top of it. Oh, is we ever learn to walk on top of our storms, not succumbing to the waves, wind, and darkness. Overcoming, this is what we were made to do.
Solomon said that when he cried out to the Lord, the Lord came near and said, “Do not fear.” The word fear here means reverence or obedience. If I revere someone, then I will take their words to heart and allow them to form me and make me. The Bible says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So, we know the Lord would never tell us to not fear Him. The Lord was telling Solomon not to fear his circumstances. Do not fear! Do not fear your storms! Do not fear your dark nights! Do not fear what others say! Do not fear the problems and situations you can see. Fear the Lord who gives us power to walk on top of the darkness and overcome.
And this is why the Lord allows us to experience the darkness. The dark moments of my life reveal to me more about myself than the good times of life ever will. It is in the dark, where I discover exactly how much faith I have. Would I have stepped out of the boat like Peter or shuddered in fear with the rest of the disciples? It is in the dark where I see how deep my love is. Do I keep loving my wife, my kids, my church, my God even when my darkness makes me feel abandoned. My ability to love would never be pushed to the edge that I might see just how far it goes and more how much it still needs to improve and increase were it not for the dark nights of the soul.
In the darkness, I see what I fear. Do I fear the Maker of Heaven and Earth more? Or do I fear the wind and waves of the storm more? Am I allowing myself to be formed by the words of my God or am I allowing myself to be deformed by the problems before me. Do not fear the storm. Fear the Lord and endure the darkness.
We will never come out of the darkness the same as when we entered in. The forces we bow down to in the darkness will change us, for the good or for the worse. Fearing the Lord, obeying Him through it all will lift us above the darkness. We will soar on wings like eagles. We will walk on water. We will be more equipped to find His good plan for our lives when we endure the night with reverence to God. We will emerge with greater faith, greater love, greater peace, stronger spirit, more compassionate, and able to discern God’s will.
While you wait, don’t let your faith fail. He is with you. You will not be consumed for His great love will keep you. He did not lead you there to let you die. He has allowed the darkness to reveal to you what you need to work on if you are ever going to enjoy the most abundant plan He has for you. Though weeping may last through the night, joy cometh in the morning-to the glory of God!
What forces have you seen trying to deform your faith in the darkness of your life? Have you let the darkness walk on you or have you learned to walk on top of the darkness?