I recently placed a piece on this blog about winter written by Max Lucado. Most people associate winter with darkness. This brought about thoughts of people that are experiencing darkness/winter in their lives. One older gentleman lost his wife at the beginning of summer. A former high school classmate lost his daughter to cancer and an additional one recently received a very bad prognosis about his health. Several years ago a boy of eight asked his mother why she gave him away when she delivered him to the State. Almost three years ago another boy of eight told me he saw the devil and evil people with pitchforks coming after him. People today are losing their loved ones to COVID. In every CASA family I’ve worked with there is drug abuse. Unfortunately, the children have followed after their parents. It seems as if darkness/winter is always present and affects all ages and walks of life.
The following are thoughts from F. LaGard Smith’s book, Meeting God In Quiet Places. He writes a chapter titled Darkness. He set out one evening on a walk to Stanton, England about an hour from his home. When he realized darkness was coming on him quickly, he hurried to get home. “Already, a cold gloomy mist was moving in over the hills.”
“As I slowly made my way, almost by instinct, I couldn’t help but think of the words of the psalm, ‘You Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.’ In the deep darkness of that night, I was able to see more clearly than ever just how God’s revelation works in my life. The Bible is not simply the story of human existence, but that upon which I can depend in times of trouble. It is the light in my darkened world of “lostness.” No matter how adverse the circumstances, somehow it always gets me through.” Take note that he doesn’t say God takes away the darkness but gets him through it. Many expect God to eliminate the darkness, but He will see you through it.
Mr. Smith is able to get through his darkness because he has studied Scriptures and relies on God’s message. If you are not studying the Scriptures then don’t expect much help as you experience darkness. He writes: “For me, the Bible is neither a fail-safe mantra to be recited at the first alarm, nor a tag-along security blanket to ward off all potential enemies. Rather, it has become as familiar as the path to and from my home—so familiar, in fact, that I often fail to appreciate it fully until I find myself in some kind of trouble. But it is precisely in those special times of needs that his Word becomes my light, showing the way to safety.”
He continues: “The skeptic might point out that I only see the path by faith—in my mind’s eye. But that is the beauty of God’s Word. It is not only written on the pages of the Bible, but in the inner recesses of my heart, stored there for whenever I need to hear the Lord’s guidance. In times of spiritual darkness—whether I am confronted by temptation, haunted by fear, or overwhelmed by loneliness—I am better able to find my way out of it. It’s almost instinctive, as if I could actually see the way. Wherever I am, whatever the need, because of God’s word which is now part of my very essence , I am always in the grip of the familiar.”
Mr. Smith writes about seeking advice from his dad when he was alive then goes on: “My heavenly Fathers voice is not just a memory. Through His Word and through His Spirit, he speaks to me every day. He is literally with me at every moment. Never am I without his involvement in my life. Far greater even that being in the grip of the familiar, I am in his grip!”
“It must be similar to what King David felt when he wrote in his exquisite 23rd Psalm: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.’ Not even the anticipate darkness of his own death was fearful for David, for throughout his life he had walked God on familiar paths. With God constantly in his life through good times and bad, he lived confidently in the presence of his Lord.” I added the bold to Mr. Smith’s words because they are important. David had an up and down life. Morally, he had failed God and was punished with the death of his and Bathsheba’s first son, but he still hung on to God! We should also! Who else or what else is going to see you through your bad times?
Mr. Smith continues: “When all is said and done, it’s all about trusting God in the darkness, whatever the darkness be. Certainly, David would have expected nothing less from him who made the first light out of darkness—from him who first said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’!”
“If God could bring physical light itself into existence, why should I ever think that he could not shed his spiritual light whenever and wherever I might need it? Light to show the way when I am stranded in despair and lost in loneliness. Light to lead me in paths of right living. And, in the end, light to lead me safely home.”
When people are in darkness or have just gone through darkness, you often hear them ask “Why?”. My unspoken answer is “I don’t know”. It gives a feeling of inadequacy not to able to explain their darkness. Explaining God’s mind is not a talent so that’s why I turn to the Bible first then writers like F. LaGard Smith and Max Lucado for their thoughts!
Meeting God in Quiet Places – F. LaGard Smith – 1992 – Published by Harvest House Publisher – Used by permission