In Part One of this blog, I discussed the idea of whether or not God SENDS trials on his children to test our faith. In this blog I want to talk about where God is in the midst of our dark times.
Lets come back to the idea of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, overwhelmed with all that he is bearing, feeling isolated, cut off and alone. Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” Jesus knows what it is like to be overwhelmed in the darkness and feel like God is a million miles away. He can empathise and understand me, when I am in this place. He has been there and he came out the other side. Even though Jesus felt alone, God was still there. The beauty of this scripture is in the next part: “let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Who is this God that we worship in our dark times? The one who sits on a throne of grace. The one who has walked in our dark places and is the light that shines in the darkness.
Isaiah 54 is a favourite scripture for me … let these words from vs 11-12 soak into your spirit:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you. “O afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and your walls of precious stones.”
Where is God in this? He is with us, in us, and working in the darkness to bring forth something beautiful.
Most of us know the scripture from Isaiah 40 – “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Have you ever considered the context of this scripture? Right before this, God is talking to the Israelites. Basically they are complaining that God is disregarding their issues, that he does not see them and is not involved with where they are at. Wah wah! Ever been there? God’s response to them is, “do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth …” (whoa! What did we look at in 1 Cor 10:13? God is the creator God who can make something out of something! He knows and he has a plan. His ways might not be our ways, but he has a plan and he is involved.) He goes on to say, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…” Wow. Hope for the hopeless. Hope for those of us struggling in the dark, wondering where God is. This is the pattern all through scriptures … to just take a few:-
Is 41:17 “The poor and needy search for water – I will answer them – I won’t forsake them.”
Is 42:6 “I will take hold of your hand”
Is 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth … I will not forsake them.”
Is 43:2 “When you pass through the waters I will be with you, when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you …”
Is 44:6 “he restores our ruins …”
Is 45:3 “ I will give you the treasures of darkness – riches stored in secret places …”
Is 45:5 “I will strengthen you …”
Is 46:4 “I made you, will sustain you and rescue you …”
I could go on and on but by now I am sure you get the point. Where is God is our darkness. Right there with us.
Who is this God that we worship in our dark times?
Jehovah – Our Redeemer
Jehovah Jireh. This actually means "the one who sees". God sees it all – as Alpha and Omega, he sees the beginning and the end. Nothing we go through is a surprise to him. Therefore, he has a plan. He will provide a way out.
Just like David realised in Ps 139, “if I make my bed in the depths you are there, if I rise on the wings of the dawn and settle on the far side of the sea, even there, your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (vs 8-12)
Are we all alone in the darkness?
No … we are never alone.