Trusting God in the Darkness

Most of us have a side to our lives you don’t see online. I do. I’m sure it’s true for most of you. This may not be the result of a deliberate attempt to hide the ugly side of life. It’s just that some things can’t be shared easily in a Tweet or post, and probably shouldn’t be. But if you’re like me, your life has a dark side. No, I don’t mean a sinister or twisted personality. Just a sad side. A hurting side. A “this thing in my life is really hard…I wish it were different…but it isn’t” sort of side.

I woke up this morning with a sense of that dark side a bit stronger than normal. I mean, it’s always there, right? But sometimes we feel it more deeply, mourn over it more painfully, face it more fully. There are times when the weight of our sorrows seem to increase. It is like, overnight, someone added a few more bricks to this backpack of shame, regret, weakness, pain, loss, failure, or grief. Sometimes we know the reason. Sometimes an event, conversation, a memory slides into the foreground of our brains and that becomes the trigger to bring out the pain. Other times we don’t know why. Either way, the darkness creeps in.

This morning, in one of those episodes, I found myself in Isaiah 50 and read the following text:

Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.”

Isaiah 50:10

This struck me. The prophet is clearly speaking to a believer. He describes him as a person who “fears the LORD” and “obeys the voice of His Servant.” Not that any of us do this perfectly. But surely that is the heart of the Christian man or woman. We sincerely want to obey. We have a healthy respect and reverence for God. But sometimes, in spite of this, we “walk in darkness.” And sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

The prophet gives a word of instruction to us in such times: “Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely upon his God.” Note that “trust” is something we can do. The call to trust is a call to action. We must not allow the darkness of these dark times to shake us, discourage us, or unravel us. Trust in God. Trust that He has done, and will always do, what is right. If we trust in Christ, we keep doing what He has called us to do, whatever the present circumstances may be.

I read this in Calvin once, and it impressed me enough to write it down. In commenting on Psalm 118, he wrote “That man has attained a high rank among the faithful, who, resting satisfied in God, never ceases to entertain a lively hope, even when he finds no help upon earth.” I think what he is saying is to trust God in the darkness. What? Do things look bad? Is the situation hard? Yes. Yes it is. But I know God. And thus am able to “entertain a lively hope.”

For me, today, this means I will do what I planned to do. I’ve got chores to get done. Some work to finish. Bonnie and I get to meet the parents of our future son-in-law later today. There are things on the agenda. We keep going. Not because I simply choose to ignore the darkness. Rather, I choose to trust in the Lord. He is plenty strong. He is plenty wise. He is always good. Therefore, I can get on with my life and what He has given me to do.

The darkness will not be an excuse for inactivity, bitterness or sin. Rather, I must and will demonstrate my trust in Him by moving on. Walk on. The one who trusts in God may “walk in darkness”, but should not “sit in darkness.” As the artist Lauren Daigle put it well “When You don’t move the mountains, I’m needing You to move. When You don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through. When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You. I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”

I’ll trust Him in the darkness. Will you?

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