A Light In The Dark

 

There have been times in my Christian life when I felt so low and hopeless that, should someone have pointed a gun at me and said, “I am going to blow you away!”, I would have said, “Thank you.” Does this mean that the Lord had failed me?  No.  It was I who failed to trust His word and was not submitted to His will. If you are in a dark time in your life, a pit of despair, strike a match and you will see my name written on the wall.  I have been there, bought the t-shirt, the hat, and the souvenir coffee mug!

I have been living the Christian life for over fifty years. There have been many times that the Lord has used a verse or passage from the Bible to bring me to my senses and to restore my soul. In this study, I will share with you some of those Bible passages.  It is my prayer, my earnest desire, that you find the same comfort I received.  Before we start, pray to the Lord, confess any known sin, and ask for His guidance. 

The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
(Exodus 14:14 ESV)

Nothing could be as hopeless as what the Children of Israel faced.  Led by the Lord into a dead end, they faced the wrathful vengeance of one of the military powers of the ancient world. There was no escape! What should they do? They did the “logical” thing: they blamed the Lord’s messenger, Moses. But the Lord used this to glorify His name, both before the pagan world and His people. The Lord performed a miracle of deliverance by providing a way out and by destroying the military might of Egypt.

Born-again Christians are set upon a path of life overseen by the loving will of the Lord Jesus Christ. He leads us through numerous dark valleys for a number of purposes: His glory in our lives, His will in our lives, our growth in faith, our training, and ultimately, our usefulness as a member of His Church. Remember, at the end of every dark valley, there is always a mountain top experience!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
(Joshua 1:9 ESV)

What a staggering, mind-numbing, situation Joshua was in!  He was called to lead the Children of Israel, to replace Moses.  How would you like to fill those shoes?! Over a million people, their flocks and their herds, how could he provide for all that?  Surrounded by numerous powerful armies, how could he defeat all of them? Just one failure, one mistake of leadership, and there would be catastrophic consequences to the people of God. Three times Joshua was told to be strong and courageous, to not be frightened, and to not be dismayed. Joshua’s only comfort was the promise that the Lord his God would be with him.

Christian growth in faith is always accomplished outside of our comfort zone. There are numerous Bible passages that promise the presence of the Lord and His faithfulness. The Lord never lays on you a responsibility that He will not help you with. Remember, the Lord does not use the proud confident person.  The Apostle Paul said that, when he was weak, he was strong. The Lord uses the weak humble person who is confident in Him. Out of your comfort zone? Rejoice, the Lord is increasing your faith and usefulness! (Just as you prayed for, remember?)

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
(Psalms 37:7 ESV)

Psalm 37 is a wonderful comfort to those who are being harassed by evil people. This passage also describes what the Lord Jesus Christ experienced during His ministry on Earth.  Without the Lord, I am a first-class, professional fretful person! We do not have much tolerance for backstabbing, devious people who are doing us harm, do we?  The Lord allows these enemies to do their thing to us. And He commands us to be still before Him, to wait patiently for Him, and to “fret not ourselves.”

Your deliverance is assured by this Psalm. But it will be in the Lord’s way, when He decides.  This Psalm points out that, when you take refuge in Him, your enemies are His and He will deal with them.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)

It is necessary, in the will of the Lord, for you to be grieved and tested.  This is the path to your praise, glory, and honor at “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I have said, “When the Lord comes, I may be bringing up the rear, but I will be grinning from ear-to-ear.”  That is true, but I would much rather hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”  Wouldn’t you? Our Lord Jesus Christ set the example for us:

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

The joy of the Lord is our strength! Have faith in Him. Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.  When all seems to be crumbling around us, when there is no earthly hope, rest in Him, trust Him, have faith in Him.

“….but the righteous shall live by his faith.” 
(Habakkuk 2:4 ESV)

“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places…” 
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ “
(Hebrews 10:35-38 ESV)

God bless you, and He will.

    —- Bruce

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 Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.