My brothers and sisters, we have to tell you that when we were in Asia the troubles we faced were nearly more than we could handle. The burdens we bore nearly crushed us. Our strength dwindled to nothing. For a while, we weren't sure we would make it through the whole ordeal. We thought we would have to serve out our death sentences right then and there. As a result, we realized that we could no longer rely on ourselves and that we must trust solely in God, who possesses the power to raise the dead. Miraculously God Himself delivered us from the cold hands of death. We again place our hope in Him alone, and we know He will deliver us (2 Corinthians 1:8-10 The Voice).
How do you feel about darkness?
Most of us don't like it. Many of us fear it. Few of us face it voluntarily. Darkness comes in all sorts of forms. Darkness can be the absence of physical light. Darkness can be the symbol of evil's grip over parts of one's life. Darkness can be the emotional chasm that claims us when we get bad news, lose a loved one, or face an unspeakable betrayal. Darkness takes on these faces of meaning, and many more.
Yet darkness can also be the workshop of God to bring new life out of our most hopeless situations. God created our universe out of darkness and chaos.
In a time of physical, spiritual, and national darkness, God the Father birthed God the Son through the miraculous movement of God the Holy Spirit — God conceived this blessing in the darkness of the womb, in a darkness of deep political oppression, and in the darkness of the night where a star heralded Jesus' physical birth.
Jesus defeated the power of evil and sin as he hung in mid-day darkness on the cross, abandoned by his friends and berated and mocked by a jeering mob.
In the darkness of a sealed tomb the mystery of life was reawakened and Jesus' victory over sin and death for us was secured.
In the darkness of a prison cell shaken by an earthquake Paul and Silas sang and prayed new life into the life of a jailer and his family.
So we can safely say that God is not afraid of our darkness. God is not afraid to enter our darkness and journey with us to bring us to Himself. God can do great work in our deepest darkness to help us find what is true, reliable, lasting, and life-sustaining. God uses the darkness to help us find Him — our heavenly Father, our loving and presence Abba! Listen to these words of the psalmist David, words that have sustained countless millions who have found themselves in deepest darkness and seen the twinkling of grace's starlight:
Even if I am afraid and think to myself, "There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me, the light around me will soon be turned to night," You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes. For You the night is just as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes (Psalm 139:11-12).
Now don't think of this as some saccharine attempt to sweeten the bitter darkness that may currently grip your life. Nor is this an attempt to sloganize you out of your weariness with your time in the darkness. The words of doubt and despair in these passages are strong words that speak of strong fears. These words speak frankly, even starkly, about our condition in the darkness:
- The troubles we faced were nearly more than we could handle.
- The burdens we bore nearly crushed us.
- Our strength dwindled to nothing.
- We weren't sure we would make it through the whole ordeal.
- We thought we would have to serve out our death sentences.
- God delivered us from the cold hands of death.
- I am afraid.
- No doubt that the darkness will swallow me.
These two passages emphasize the reality both of our desperation and God's presence to save us. These two passages remind us of our possible death and God's ultimate rescue. God's presence is found in the middle of our desperation. God's rescue is discovered when death crowds in closely to us and we experience the blessing of God's rescue. Read the words of these passages again and notice presence, deliverance, and hope found in the presence and power of God meeting us in the darkest of places:
- We must trust solely in God, who possesses the power to raise the dead.
- Miraculously God Himself delivered us.
- We again place our hope in Him alone, and we know He will deliver us.
- You can see in the dark.
- For You the night is just as bright as the day.
- Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.
Do you find yourself in some kind of deep darkness?
Does fear hang like a damp overcoat around your shoulders weighing you down and seizing your life?
Do you not know where to turn or how to find your way of the darkness?
Ask the Spirit to bring you the breath of heaven into your darkness. Remember, God's people of faith have been where you are now. Confess to yourself and to others, "I am not alone in my darkness. God is here. He has rescued and delivered others found here before me and my Father will find me and bring me home. Deliverance is coming. Come Lord Jesus!"
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