Today, a dull day with no sunshine, God brings to my mind a question about spiritual dullness. How can a Christian who walks with Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, walk in darkness? I’m thinking there are two ways.
One happens when God gives me light on a certain thing and I do not obey it. If I persist in disobedience, then I lose my sense of direction and stumble around until I repent and follow the light He has given me. This is the darkness of disobedience.
The other happens when the Lord brings trials and storms as a test of my trust in Him, and to prove His faithfulness to me. Many Christians can testify to times that the presence of the Lord seemed missing. Even though sin is not involved, it feels similar to when I turn away, only I haven’t. Like Job, God is verifying my love for Him.
The Bible describes both reasons for being in the dark, but the second one is far more perplexing. Job was not the only saint of old that experienced this either. Others wrote about it and today’s devotional highlights one of them.
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)
This speaks of one who fears and obeys God yet is without light and still must fear and obey. The devotional writer quotes an old seaman who said, “In fierce storms, we can do but one thing, there is only one way; we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”
Sometimes my spiritual vision is darkened. A storm might rage, or just life seems mostly cloud cover and dullness. I cannot reason my way through it. Past experiences give no light and prayer does not help me. In this darkness, I must rely on the sure promises of God and simply hang in there.
I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
In keeping with the seaman’s quote, I must put my heart in one position and keep it there, stayed upon the Lord. No matter what is going on in that darkness — winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightning, looming rocks, roaring breakers — I must “lash myself to the helm” and hold on to my confidence in God’s faithfulness. I must face the devil whose lies come heavily on me during these times and say…
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. (Micah 7:8)
Lord, I can say with the psalmist, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” yet I also know that, “Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. (Psalm 139:11–12) Because You are light and I belong to You, I can also say, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)