Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
By Chris WittsThursday 31 Mar 2022Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 5 minutes
In Part 1, I introduced the topic of when dark times come and I actually looked into the Bible and read about an experience of King David. And we read that in 1 Samuel of the time when King David lost his family, he had no home to return to, and his own men wanted actually to kill him.
So here he was feeling totally abandoned. And we knows that God had chosen him for a specific purpose but he’s very tired and God doesn’t seem to be keeping his end of the bargain. And that darkness in his life was coming in. But we read in that story that David found strength in the Lord, his God.
Another time David went through such a terrible time he wrote about in Psalm 55:
Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger. My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me…But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice… Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall…I trust in you, O God.
David felt his enemies literally closing in on him to take his life. The darkness came upon him. In the midst of the darkness, he heard God whisper, Trust me.
Listen to God’s whispers
Do you know that God speaks to us in bad times? If we get quiet in the dark, we can hear God’s whispers of encouragement and hope. The problem is when we are in the dark, we are afraid. We make a lot of noise. We cry, we wail, we scream, we talk to ourselves and to anyone who will listen. But we are making so much noise, we cannot hear God calling to us in a whisper. He is whispering: I love you. I am with you. Trust me. Lean on me. We need to ask God to calm our fears so that we can be quiet and hear him.
It was the same David who wrote in Psalm 18:28: “You, the Lord God, keep my lamp burning and turn darkness into light”.
Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light. Think of the many times God has been with you, shown the way, or answered your prayer. You have felt good about life, and his ways. It’s just the same in dark times. He exists in the shadows as well as the light. We need to remember this fundamental truth.
Often we need to turn to God’s Word for help, and this is what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble”.
Or the psalmist in Psalm 62:5-6 wrote: “Only God gives inward peace, and I depend on Him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe, and He is the fortress where I feel secure”.
It’s important to remember that God is with us in all circumstances. Nothing is too big for him to handle, and to help you with. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgement. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road [or let’s insert the word darkness here] for you to follow”. It’s reality that many, many people have gone through deep darkness in their lives.
History tells us that the brilliant Vincent Van Gogh painted for only 10 years and sold just one painting before taking his own life when he was a mere 37 years-old. All of us face difficult stretches. Most of us have found out what it means to walk through a valley of some kind—some of us have experienced the penetrating despair that prevents us from seeing a better future. Some people of faith add to their burden by feeling guilty about their hopelessness. They think I’m a Christian, and shouldn’t feel like this.
God Is by your side at all times
When our dreams are crushed, we despair. We may feel too weak and too fearful to carry on. We may wake up at three o’clock in the morning when everything is still and dark and lonely with one thought rattling around in our head: What’s the use? What’s the use of trying to overcome the thing that holds me captive? What’s the use of praying? What’s the use of worshiping God? What’s the use of trusting God? What’s the use of believing that life will get any better?
Abraham Lincoln wrestled with feelings of despair. He doubted he could handle the challenges before him. Time and again he was tempted to run away from his responsibilities. Once Lincoln wrote, “I have been driven to my knees in prayer many times because I had nowhere else to turn.” It was on his knees in prayer that he found the determination to keep marching forward even when the mountain before him appeared too difficult to scale.
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes that, at a low point of the war, Lincoln found time to write a letter to a young cadet at West Point who was despondent and ready to drop out. President Lincoln wrote: “Allow me to assure you it is a perfect certainty that you will very soon feel better… if you only stick to the resolution you have taken… I am older than you, have felt badly myself, and know, what I tell you is true. Adhere to your purpose…. If you falter and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution…” Lincoln’s letter may have been what tipped the scale. The young man stayed at West Point and graduated in 1866.
Remember that God is by your side at all times. Ask God to give you the courage to overcome your fear, the stamina to endure the pain if that’s what you’re feeling.
No matter where I am, Lord you are with me. If I am up today, You are here. If I am down, You are here. If I am very, very down, You are still here. If I am very, very, very, very, very down, You are here. Thank you. Even in the terrible times when I am in the depths, You are there with me. Your presence is a ray of hope in the dark times of my recovery. Amen.
Copyright Dale and Juanita R. Ryan