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.
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.”
This verse tells us that even in the midst of suffering…God’s love shines forth and His favor surrounds us as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12) Circumstances can still be dark around us, but people will notice something different…a light shining forth from us, as we steadfastly put our faith and trust in God. Situations may not change, for we live in a broken world…but what can change is our attitude and reaction to them.
In those times of darkness… when unhappiness and turmoil have you crouched down in the valley of despair…God will speak truths softly to you. Precious truths that will encourage, exhort, and sustain you during that critical time…but it doesn’t stop there. God wants you to share with others these precious truths when the light of day finally shines again in your life. For after you have passed through the valley of the shadow of death, the truths God whispered to you then, become the lifelines for others who still remain in darkness.
If you’ve ever seen oxen yoked together…you’ll see one thing quickly…they must move together as one. The yoke forces them to move in the same direction, even if they don’t want to. This hitch they are joined together by suddenly becomes a burden as they both pull in opposite directions. When we are unequally yoked with unbelievers, it soon becomes a wrestling match of the wills…a match between light and darkness…truth and deceit…with no one winning.