The question today is…are you walking in the light or in the darkness? Are you allowing panic, anxiety, and fear to rule and reign in your life or are you putting your trust and confidence in Jesus Christ? Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” While verse 19 says, “But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they don’t know what makes them stumble.” If you’re allowing the fear of the unknown to over-ride good judgment today, I urge you to stop…take a really deep breath…and consider. A wonderful word out of the Psalms is Selah…to pause. Pause to consider what has been the driving force behind all your actions lately. Is it fear or faith…panic or peace…agitation or assurance?
One of the realities of life is that we will lose people close to us. And as we get older and older it happens more often. We look around, and all our beloved friends and family are gone…and left in their place is this huge void. This Scripture actually reminded me of the first line of an old Simon and Garfunkel song, “Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again…” And if you read this entire Psalm, you’ll recognize that dark place as grieving and loss. But within this darkness there’s also the hope of God, and the Writer of this Psalm knows this is where he needs to be.
Christmas can be a very tough time for those who have lost loved ones. That empty chair at the Dinner table is a sad reminder of happier times and the flood of memories from Christmases past makes the day a little harder to bear. This week we attended a funeral of a friend and then this morning we got the call that a family member had just passed. So this verse is very special this Christmas Day, for there is always hope in Jesus…and though sorrow and loss come into all our lives and we sit in the darkness created by them…we have assurance that we can rise on the wings of hope into His blessed light.
After Job’s three friends had been unable to win their argument that he, (Job), was being punished by God… a young man by the name of Elihu stood to speak. (Now you can read his entire speech in Chapters 32-37 of Job.) Elihu’s assertion was that God was instructing or teaching Job…that even in all the trials and suffering he was going through, Job was to trust God. (Interestingly enough, when God started to speak, He never condemned Elihu’s words like He did Job’s and his three friends!) Now the Lord allows righteous people to suffer and go through trials everyday…but it’s not out of punishment, but to strengthen their faith and trust in Him. And when we should wander from the truth, God faithfully keeps bringing us back, that we may see the error of our way and turn. (James 5:19)
In those times of obscurity and uncertainty there is only one light to seek out…for it will illuminate and give you the spiritual perspective you are searching for. It’s God Word. Not man’s word written about it, or feel good flowery prose that tend to water it down. No, the enlightenment you are seeking can only come from God’s Word and spending time in the Bible. Psalm 18:28 promises that God will turn my darkness into light, but I have to be willing to go to the source of that light…His Word.
Talk to someone who is struggling with a pornography addiction and sure enough they’ll use the excuse, “What I do in the privacy of my own home is my right.” And then they’ll follow it up with, “And I wasn’t hurting anyone with what I was doing alone at night.” They are rationalizing and attempting to explain away what they already know deep down in their heart is wrong. For we can’t hide anything from God’s sight. And no matter how dark it is…God still sees what we’re doing.
In all our lives we will go through darkness…not the kind caused by sin or disobedience…but darkness that comes out of fear and confusion in this broken world. But while we are crouched down in the Valley of Despair, we need to listen…for the Lord will be speaking life-bringing truths into our soul. Precious truths of encouragement, and exhortation that will sustain us during illness, pain, and loss. Isaiah 50:10 tells us, ” Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”