February 14, 2016

Listening in the darkness

What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)

Sometimes I agree with Oswald Chambers, and sometimes not, but his devotional for today is descriptive of events in my life. As soon as I read it, I said ‘yes’ and felt relieved . . .

“At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him. Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him. “What I tell you in darkness” — watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there, keep your mouth shut. Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God? Then remain quiet. If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen. Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed. If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying. When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.

“After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight in hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation — ‘What a long time I was in hearing that! How slow I have been in understanding that! And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks.’ Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.”

The discipline of darkness is when some area of life makes no sense at all. I cannot see the point of it or understand what God is trying to teach me because of it. It might be an event, or a recurring temptation, or another sort of problem that has no answers, only struggles. Yet it seems not to be shared, just as Chambers says. Then and suddenly, God speaks and the darkness is gone. His light erases all trace of it, or at least so much that I know it is soon going to be a hazy memory only, perhaps with some sort of testimony attached that I have words of wisdom to share with fellow travelers.

Today, those words are about perseverance. If God is allowing the enemy to bombard me with a tempting lie, one that I know is evil but cannot seem to silence, don’t give up. Whatever the Lord is teaching in a great wrestling match, when that lesson is learned the liar and his temptation will go away as if it never existed in the first place!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

Resist him (the devil) , firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:9–10)

Persist with resistance, remembering three things: Submitting to God in faith comes first, otherwise resistance is impossible. I am not alone even if I cannot talk to others about it. Third, there is a good purpose in this experience of darkness; after it is over God will have made His child much stronger.

Our church service was a blessing today, until the last hymn. Bob said he felt light-headed. He sat down, then he passed out. He was totally out for nearly a minute and white of face. A woman behind us called 911. She turned out to be a nurse. She also knew there was a doctor in the congregation so fetched him. In the meantime, her husband held Bob by his shoulders so he didn’t fall. The ambulance arrived within 5 minutes and the EMTs checked him out. Then we were off to the nearest hospital. By the time we got there, all his vitals were normal or nearly so and the color had returned to his face. After waiting for awhile, he was tested for everything they could think of, but all tests were negative and we are home now (just before 10:00 pm).  

It is hard to describe how peace of heart can exist alongside stress of body and mind, but it can. For that reason, I’m certain we can now go to sleep.

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