When we are completely in the dark

I think that particular period started with the devastating illness and death of my Mother. Then, in the next few months, our family was rocked by illness, sorrow, surgery, deaths and tragedy, until we were baffled by pain and numb with grief.

I came to the Lord with Psalm 34:10, "None of those who seek the Lord shall lack any good and beneficial thing." A precious relative had to face much hardship and sadness alone, because they followed hard on the heels of her husband's death. After the first shock of his condition and then submission to God's will, it almost seemed as though God was giving him back to her. Then, in the midst of renewed hope, he was torn away. Could it possibly be that it was more beneficial to her, in the midst of adversity, for God to take her husband than to spare him?

This and other hurting questions I brought to the Lord from the depths of my aching heart.

God reminded me of Israel when they were pursued by an enemy army, surrounded by mountains and facing the Red Sea. They had nowhere to go and no means of escape. It was all that night, WHEN THEY WERE COMPLETELY IN THE DARK, that the Lord caused the sea to go back. He very gently pointed out that just because we didn't understand and WERE COMPLETELY IN THE DARK, was no indication that God was not working on our behalf. He asked me to step back from the pain of my immediate sorrow and try to see God's bigger picture, God's larger purpose, to view the things of earth from Heaven's viewpoint.

Do we sometimes, unwittingly, cheapen Calvary to mean Heaven when we die and God operating now as a big Blessing Machine in the sky to provide healing, prosperity and convenience?

He has called us out of darkness to show forth His praises, not to make us showpieces to be displayed in an exhibition. The world that crucified Him still rejects Him, millions worship false gods and Christians are persecuted in many countries. The Saviour wants to share His emotions and compassion with us and express them through us.

We pray for others and ourselves and often there is agonizing pain and need and difficulty. Trying to put ourselves in the place of those we pray for, can lead us to blasphemy. God knows the situation. He could change the circumstances immediately. He cares and He loves more than we do and He knows more than we do. Praying allows us to put ourselves in God's place, that is to seek to know His heart and mind for ourselves and for those in need; then our self-pity or natural sympathy will not lead us astray. God may have something far more important that healing, employment, etc., etc., to accomplish first. When He has accomplished every good thing He has purposed in the suffering and difficulty, then deliverance will come.

Job is only worth remembering because of his "bad" days. God's purpose is character-development and His reason is love. Anything that happens to obedient Christians is in answer to the prayer of Jesus, "That they might be one, Father, as We are." When we know nothing else, when our emotions are screaming and our thoughts are tormented, we do know God's unchanging character and on that basis we can trust Psalm 145:17,

"The Lord is too wise to ever make a mistake and too loving to ever be unkind.

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