Trusting Bravely in The Darkness

One of the hallmarks of the Christian faith is trust. Although we often use the words faith and trust as synonyms, there is actually a difference. As one writer said, trusting is what we do because of the faith we have been given.

We begin the Christian life by trusting in the death of Jesus to save us. And we grow in the Christian faith as we learn to trust God in the various times of life.

In Joshua 1:9, God said to Joshua, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. He was saying, trust Me whatever life throws at you.

The Bible has a lot to say about trust, especially in the Psalms. Just a few examples include Psalm 9:10, Those who know your name trust in you; Psalm 13:5, I trust in your unfailing love; Psalm 20:7, Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God; and Psalm 37:3, Trust in the Lord and do good.

The classic passage on the subject is Proverbs 3:5-6 which stresses just how important the issue of trust is. Trust in the Lord with all your heart (all that you are), and don’t lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.

God wants us to trust Him all of the time for everything in life. Even in the hard times.

The thing about trust is that you really don’t know the strength of your trust until your trust is tested. It is in the trials of life that the depth of trust is revealed. It is in the darkness that we really learn just how much we trust. What is assumed in the light is often exposed in the darkness.

And that’s why God sometimes puts us in difficult circumstances. Trust demands trials. Without them we really don’t know anything about the strength of our trust.

David McCullough in his excellent biography about the early life of President Theodore Roosevelt, Mornings on Horseback, relates what was undoubtedly the darkest day of Roosevelt’s life.

Roosevelt had always had a close relationship with his mother, which only deepened after the death of his father. In October of 1880 he married Alice Lee, the love of his life and the only other woman to whom he gave his love (until a second marriage some years later). These two women, his mother and his wife, were the lights of his life and he could not have been happier.

Until a fateful day in 1884 when tragedy struck. His mother was the first to die of typhoid fever. Alice died eleven hours later in the same house of a kidney disease after giving birth to their only child.

Contemplating the death of his wife some months later he wrote, When my heart’s dearest died, the light went out from my life forever. It was a dark place.

One of Roosevelt’s contemporaries prayed that God would give Roosevelt strength to work bravely in the darkness.

I would like to make a small change to his prayer and pray for you and for me, that when we are in that dark place, that place where we don’t understand what God is doing, when we can’t explain His plan, that He will give us strength to trust Him bravely in the darkness.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

 

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Stop Cursing the Darkness

In case you haven’t noticed we are living in a rapidly changing world. Life-altering changes are occurring across a wide spectrum of society including technology, entertainment, medicine, the economy and society.

Change can be good. We are living longer and better because of change. We stay in contact with more people in more places today because of change. We have a better standard of living because of change. We get a glimpse into the lives of other nations and people and understand them better because of change. But not all change is to be accepted equally. Not all change is good. This is perhaps most noticeable in the changes we see taking place in our society.

Today we are witnessing some of the most profound changes in our culture and society that any of us can remember. This was brought out in an internet article under the title Are America’s Absurdly Homophobic Ways Just Buried in History? Don’t let the author’s calculated, prejudicial title, or the fact that she writes from a position on the extreme left put you off. Her main point, and at least this much is true, is that our western society is embracing rapid change, especially in the area of same-sex relationships. While we are not yet where she thinks we need to be, she points out evidence that suggests we are on the right track – at least her right track. What is interesting about her article is that she could have substituted several other topics for same-sex marriage and written the same article. As a culture we are changing and not always in good ways.

As Christians we recognize that our culture is changing in ways that often militate against our faith and our too typical reaction is to curse the darkness. But we also need to recognize that we have a choice: we can either curse the darkness around us or we can take steps to dispel the darkness. We were never promised a culture that would love us, respect our faith, or look at us as being desirable members of society – in fact a good case can be made from scripture for just the opposite response (Luke 6:22).

None of this should surprise us. We really shouldn’t be surprised at the downward progression of our western culture. We shouldn’t be surprised that we are characterized as being absurdly homophobic, or to use another descriptive phrase from the author, bigoted and homophobic. I can think of at least two reasons why the slide of our culture into the slough of immorality should come as no surprise to us: First, people without Christ are simply acting as people without Christ. They are following their fallen nature and except for the fact that God has changed us we would be right there with them. We should expect them to act this way.

The second reason that none of this should take us by surprise is because God told us this would happen. The Apostle Paul famously begins chapter three of 2 Timothy with the words but know this, in the last days perilous times will come. He goes on to describe these perilous times: people will be lovers of themselves . . . unholy . . . without self-control . . . despisers of good (always understand the biblical word good in the context of what God says is good, not what people think is good) . . . lovers of pleasure. Does that sound like our culture or what!?

So let’s stop cursing the darkness. It’s here. It’s to be expected. Cursing what we don’t like is the easy way out. But the spiritual darkness is here and it’s not going away, at least not until Jesus comes.

Instead of cursing the darkness try being a light to dispel some of the darkness around you (Matthew 5:14-16). If you provide some light in the darkness of your world some people will respond to the light and be drawn to the One who is the Light of the world. And that’s how you defeat the darkness.

Stay in the Word
Pastor Steve