Summary: This message focuses on how walking in faith during difficult times is the same as walking in the darkness without knowing what is around you.
Into The Darkness
This morning I want to briefly talk with you about walking in faith. Do you know that in order to walk in faith you must become comfortable with being in the dark? I am not necessarily talking about the physical darkness, although there are some similarities that I will talk about shortly, but the mental darkness – the darkness that we experience when we do not know what is happening around us. Walking in faith means that we are believing in and hoping for something that we cannot presently see. But let me first spend some time talking about the natural darkness.
I do not know about you, but when I was a small boy, there were times when I was afraid of the dark. There was just something about not being able to see what was out there when everything was dark. When it was dark you could not know everything that was going on around you because you could not see it. There were times when my parents would ask me to go into another part of the house to get something and immediately I began to turn on lights as I went to make sure there was noting going to jump out at me. Although we were allowed to play outside after dark during the summer, we had to stay pretty much in our yard or in the school yard right across the street from our house when we were pre-teens. We were taught that bad things happen in the dark so you had to be extra careful where you went. How many times have we heard about places that we should not go to after dark? The reason is that bad things happen in the darkness. The physical darkness complicates our lives. We are limited as to what we can do and where we can go after it becomes dark. The darkness limits us and for some people it terrifies them. I have been traveling on roads in the daytime that I would not want to travel at night. These roads had no lights and it would be pitch black with many miles between two cities. I always imagine what it would be like to have car trouble on one of those roads late at night and having to sit there in the darkness – not being able to see anything. The physical darkness is scary and so is the mental darkness. The mental darkness is represented by our not knowing everything and yet we must continue forward until the light breaks through. This, my friends, is called walking in faith.
If you contrast the darkness with the daylight, there is only one difference between the two; in the daylight you can see what is around you. You can be in the exact same spot at two different times of the day and have complete confidence at one time and be utterly scared the next. Why does this happen? Because in the daylight you can see what is around you and you can see great distances and know that no one can sneak up and attack you without you seeing them. This is not the case when we are in total darkness. During those times we cannot see what is around us and it would be easy to be attacked from behind. One more point I want to make about the darkness. When there is a bad thunder storm at night, the storms seem worse because at night you cannot see how dark the clouds are. You cannot see a tornado in the distance. Also, when the lightening flashes, it is magnified by the darkness. Darkness magnifies storms because we cannot “see” how bad they really are so our imagination kicks in. We can imagine worse storms in the darkness than we can in the daylight because our minds can be extremely active at night. I want you use this analogy of the physical darkness to help you understand that when you are walking in faith it means you are holding on to God through the darkness. This morning we will take a walk into the darkness together.
I. Calmness In The Darkness
Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the assurance (substance) of things hoped for, the conviction (evidence) of things not seen.” Now focus on the last statement “of things not seen.” Remember the difference between being in a location in the daylight and being in the same location when there is total darkness? The only difference is that when we are in total darkness, we cannot see things. So to put it plainly, to walk in faith means that we must get very comfortable being in the dark knowing that while we do not know what is happening around us, God does. Although we know that God is in control sometimes we still find ourselves experiencing fear. Remember earlier when I talked about some people being terrified of the dark? There is a physical response within our bodies when we are scared. We breathe quicker; our pulse rate increase and we become agitated. All of these symptoms prepare us for what is know as the fight/flight response. Our body prepares us to get ready to fight or to run like crazy. Again, we all encounter this daily in our faith walk because when we are walking in faith there is darkness surrounding us. When we are standing in faith, we are standing for an outcome that has not happen so the outcome is still dark to us. Once we have seen the fulfillment of what we were standing for, then we can see in totality how God worked it out. But while we are in the midst of going through, we are walking blindly as we wait on God. Let me get back to the point I was making on our physical response to being afraid. When our bodies begin to go down the road towards a fight/flight response, we have too choices: we can lose control or we can calm ourselves and remain in control. If we lose control, we stop thinking clearly and we begin to operate on impulse. However, if we calm ourselves, we retain control and are able to make sound decisions because we are thinking clearly. Let me give you an example.