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Seeing in the Dark

Apparently, cats can see using one sixth the amount of light needed by humans to see.

This would explain why our family cat has been stood on or kicked – accidentally – at night-time on more than one occasion. She enthrones herself in the most dangerous of locations – e.g. the middle of our stairwell – and expects that we can see her at night time just as she can see us. But we can’t – we’re designed for daytime vision, not night time. Sorry cat - move over!

We were made for living in the light and resting during the dark.

But sometimes God will lead us through dark times in our lives and at such times, we can’t rely upon the vision of our natural eyes. Dark times and difficult circumstances, when we face confusion and despair, are when our ability to see clearly, our view of life, and our hope for the future can be greatly impaired. It’s then we are at risk of stumbling or sinking in the dark.

We need to discover how to ‘see in the dark’.

There are 4 key truths we need to anchor ourselves in, during such times.

1. God never gets lost in the dark.

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. (Psalm 139:11-12)

When we’re finding it hard to see hope, purpose or direction, everything remains crystal-clear to God. He can see exactly where we should go, what we should avoid and how we should handle things. He can see the end from the beginning and He has a perfect understanding of our path and His plan for us. When you face dark times, that’s the most important time to draw near to God and trust Him. That’s what the giant slayer, David, discovered in times when he hid in caves while being hunted down by a national army. He learnt to trust God as his shepherd:

‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;’ (Psalm 23:4)

We all face dark times when we can’t see clearly or feel we’re drowning in life. Like David, we need to declare, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need’ (Ps 23:1). These words remind us that we have a guide in the darkness who has perfect night vision and is absolutely trust worthy. He guides, protects, and loves us. We just have to choose to trust Him and seek Him.

2. Darkness and isolation are powerful enemies when allied…don’t ever let them join forces.

My greatest concern for people I Pastor is not that they will face dark times. It’s that some may face dark times, alone. When we’re facing discouragement, grief or confusion, we sometimes pull away from people because we feel low.

Sometimes it’s good to be alone.

Sometimes we will face dark times.

But never let these times be at the same time – darkness multiplies when we’re alone.

Don’t wait for someone to come find you and encourage you. When things are getting dark, be wise, humble, and courageous enough to call in good allies. Stick close to people.

God gives us such wisdom in the book of Proverbs in the Bible:

In times of calamity or disaster, “….better a neighbour who is near than a relative far away.” (Prov’ 27:10)

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov’ 18:24)

This isn’t saying family isn’t helpful. It’s simply saying that in difficult times, don’t wait for distant support - grab someone nearby and make them your ally. Don’t be alone in the dark. There are always people around that you can call on. And if ever you don’t think this is true, find a local church – God scatters His church around the world for this very reason.

3. If it’s getting dark, turn on the light.

For those who have faced deeply dark times, this may sound too simplistic or contradictory. But there is such an option, always.

'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.' (Ps 119:105)

Surely this was written in the context of dark circumstances – you don’t need a light for your path if it’s not dark!

God gave us His words in written form so we’d always be able to access them. When I don’t think I can hear God and all seems too dark, I’m physically able to open up the Bible and read God’s words. And God’s word has been what has pulled me through the darkest times. The discipline of seeking God’s ‘illumination’ through the Bible has been more powerful than I can describe.

But it’s a choice. Like switching on a light or lighting a candle – I must choose to open the Bible and read it. I now have journals full of things God has shown me through His word. Some of these have provided the most reassuring light, in the darkest of times.

4. Don’t grow quiet in the dark - Shine the light

We regularly underestimate the power of the tongue. What we speak has power – for good, or evil. So also in our dark times: what you speak either feeds the darkness or starves it; you can shine light, or hide it. Speak into the darkness the truth and hope of God’s word. If you don’t know what to say, look through the book of Psalms in the Bible – it’s full of prayers and truths and hope. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the feelings of despair, fear, and discouragement back down, the more you speak out God’s words into the darkness.

Gen’ 1:3 says: ‘And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.’

We’re made in God’s likeness – you also can speak light into the darkness, both in your life and in others. Only, be careful not to feed the darkness – don’t keep speaking the negative, the critical or the doubts. Speak life, speak hope and most importantly, speak God’s all-powerful word.

We will all face dark times at some stage in our life – that’s the reality of the fallen world we live in. But God never wants you to be alone or powerless or overwhelmed by the darkness.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

‘You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness…’

Psalm 91

In the deepest darkness, there is a light that is brighter than the sun and no amount of darkness can ever damp it out. Although we may have to walk through darkness at times, we never need walk in darkness:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

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