A study on the life of Abraham from Jack Hayford’s book Pursuing the Will of God is used as a resource for this devotion.
“After these things, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed, one born in my house is my heir!” (Genesis 15:1-3)
Genesis 15 speaks of a point in your life and mine when only a deeper manifestation of God Himself will enable us to understand His personal way with us and His plans for us. We can never keep growing in the Lord on the strength of past experiences. But at the same time, we must remember this: moving forward in the will of God means testing and challenge. A new revelation of Himself usually is accompanied by a corresponding test ... a difficulty ... the darkness that is designed to strengthen the core of our faith. There are no cheap price tags on “going deeper with God.”
Some folks speak of glorious past experiences with the Lord. I know I have. Perhaps you have as well. They (We) will describe great blessings and miracles of God’s grace and power but then relate coming to a place in our lives when the ‘spout where the glory comes out’ seemed to close off―and remain closed. The good times with the Lord seemed to be replaced by a season of trials, heartaches, or perplexities. Then we will explain how we couldn’t see beyond the trial at the time, so we had no idea of the new dimension of grace that we were being ushered into. In fact, we entered a season of darkness.
But listen to the writer of Psalm 42: “My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng… My soul is downcast within me;” (Psalm 42:3-4, 6, NIV)
The psalmist is thinking about the “good old days” when God seemed near and dear, when life was exciting, when believing men and women surrounded him, and when they worshiped and sang praises to the Lord together. He’s remembering some wonderful places and wonderful moments―we call them mountaintops ―when he met with the Lord, and everything in life seemed clear and bright.
We have similar laments when we enter those inevitable dark tunnels in the will of God. Perhaps we’ve even said words such as these ... “I guess the Lord’s through with me.” “Somethings wrong. God isn’t happy with me anymore.” The truth is, there are times when the Lord allows His people to walk in the dark. He knows exactly where they are at every moment along the way; He never abandons or loses track of His children.
No, out of love, He allows us to enter the darkness to bring us to a place where we must admit, “I don’t know where I am or where I’m going.” The only way we can be ready to receive the next thing He plans to teach us is by helping us understand that we don’t have all the answers. He reminds us that we need to know things only He can reveal to us. So, He lets us enter the darkness for a season so that we have an opportunity to grow. We need to learn how to see in the dark, how to walk in the will of God during the sunless days of pain and troubles, pushing through the difficulties to the glory of new and understanding and renewed blessings beyond.
Abraham had several ‘Journeys into darkness’ in his lifetime. As a matter of fact, his very first step out of the city limits of Ur―heading toward a mysterious land he had never seen―was a step into darkness. He had to learn to walk by faith. Just like Abraham, we must learn to live a day at a time, leaning on God’s provision, protection, and guidance. Through it all, we will come to understand that what seems like darkness is a path leading to light greater than we have ever known.
Francis Mason Pastor Mason