Grace in the Darkness

It’s hard to deny the fact that our world is in turmoil. The news each day brings additional reports of extreme violence, natural disasters, and economic chaos around the world. For most of us those events have little if any impact on our lives outside of higher gasoline prices. The turmoil, however, goes deeper than simply international events. It hits much closer to home. People’s lives are plunging into turmoil at rates that we haven’t seen in the recent past. Devastating illnesses, escalating divorce rates (even among Christians), and the failure of our economic systems are pulling families apart and leaving people wondering if there are any answers or if this is the beginning of the end.

It is in times of turmoil that we need grace the most in our lives. It is when our private worlds are coming apart that we need God and we long to experience His grace. It is also in times of turmoil that grace is most clearly evident. Often when life is the darkest we more clearly see God working; we are more aware of His grace to us. The Puritan’s prayer says,

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the  wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley. (The Valley of Visions)

Two great examples of this stand out in the Old Testament. As the prophet Jeremiah lamented over the sin of Israel and the turmoil that would come on the nation as a result of God’s judgment, he wrote these stirring words;

It is through the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His     compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him!”  (Lam 3:22f)

The second example is in the book of Habakkuk. Again the prophet was addressing the turmoil and judgment that would come on Israel because of their rejection of God. As God revealed the events that would soon transpire, Habakkuk confessed;

 Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor  of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off  from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls – yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I  will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength! (Hab 3:17f)

Both Jeremiah and Habakkuk understood that times of turmoil will come (in both cases because of sin, however, sin is not always the cause of turmoil in our lives) but it is in those times of great anxiety and uncertainty that God is most needed and that He is most clearly seen. It is true in our lives as well. It is in times of turmoil in our lives that we need God the most; and it is in times of personal turmoil that we can clearly see the faithfulness of God’s compassion and mercy to us (Jeremiah) and the power of God working in our lives (Habakkuk).

In the midst of your personal turmoil, hold on to the reality of God’s grace. His compassions never fail; His mercy is great; His strength is enough.

 Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee.

Thou changest not; Thy compassions, they fail not;

As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

 

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

If you are searching for God’s grace and faithfulness today, please listen here – you will be blessed.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

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