Summary: “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.”(Isaiah 50:10)

The Discipline of Darkness

Text -Isaiah 50:1-11, 51:1-6

What do we do when the lights go out?

Many people struggle with the darkness, physically and emotionally. Darkness can be scary and can bring fear and hopelessness. How many times have you seen days of dark, dull weather suddenly replaced with the gleaming light of the sun? How often have we felt the cold, chilling fingers of autumn instantly lose their grip as the sun brightened the sky overhead? We have all seen gloomy days immediately transformed by the appearance of light. In this article my focus is not the physical light, but to the spiritual facet of human life. However dark, dank and dreary a day may be, when I am exposed to the light of the word of God I am instantly brightened. They are like a warm ray of light in a dreary place. Bible says “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

Even those who walk closely with God will experience times of darkness. There are times in our life when nothing seems to make sense. Our natural response to difficult times is to cry out to God “why”. Only God has the answer to that. Our questions suppose to be not “why” but “How”: How are we going to act, react or interact? When God does a deep work, it is not easy. Surgery hurts. But it brings healing, hope, and better future, but it hurts. Our text says “If you are walking in darkness, without a ray of light, trust in the Lord and rely on your God.”(Isaiah 50:10) Faith, like film, is developed in the dark; those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness. God wants to develop our faith. When you go through darkness and come out on the other side, you’ll learn things you never knew before.

Job says “For man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.”(Job 5:7) The existence of suffering in a world created by a good and almighty God is a fundamental theological dilemma. The fall of man and the general sinfulness of the race ensure a certain amount of suffering to every innocent child who is born into the world. Sin begets suffering. So trouble is born with us. SUFFERING IS UNIVERSAL AND INEVITABLE. Every human being has many pains, troubles, anxieties, to bear. And every saint has his own dark days or sufferings. There are times in our lives, as God’s people, that we have to serve God in the midst of darkness. If you are in darkness, it does not necessarily mean that you are out of the will of God or that you have sinned before the Lord. We must continue to stand on God’s Word. The promises of God remain the same whether the sun is shining or darkness comes to us. When you are in the dark, you do not have to have an explanation; you need God.

A relationship is more important than a reason. God desires to even use us in the midst of darkness. Thus it is more important to be with God in the valley of darkness than to be on sunlight peaks without God. Job said, “God has put darkness in my path” (Job 19:8). Habakkuk exclaimed, “How long shall I cry and you not hear (Hab. 1:2). John the Baptist sent messengers from the prison and asked Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah or should we look for someone else?”(Matthew 11:3) Each of these great men of God came to a time in their life that they did not understand or comprehend why and what was fully happening to them. Three examples of those whose faith was developed in the dark: John Milton, in the darkness of his blindness, wrote Paradise Lost. While John Bunyan was in the Bedford Jail, London, England, he wrote Pilgrims Progress. The apostle John was in exile to the Island of Patmos when he wrote the book of the Revelation. This is why David, the ancient Jewish king said “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I may learn thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:71)

A Christian reflection on pain must end with a vision of heaven, the true end and home of humanity. This is why Apostle Paul said “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) He contrasts the "suffering of the present time" with the glory of heaven. One thing is sure: suffering is an important element of the Christian faith. As the apostle Paul wrote: “ I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8). It takes courage to live through suffering; and it takes honesty to observe it.

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