Thursday, December 22, 2016
Streams in the Desert : December 22
Lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him (Gen. 15:12).
The sun at last went down, and the swift, eastern night cast its heavy veil over the scene. Worn out with the mental conflict, the watchings, and the exertions of the day, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and in that sleep is soul was oppressed with a dense and dreadful darkness, such as almost stifled him, and lay like a nightmare upon his heart.
Do you understand something of the horror of that darkness? When some terrible sorrow which seems so hard to reconcile with perfect love, crushes down upon the soul, wringing from it all its peaceful rest in the pitifulness of God, and launching it on a sea unlit by a ray of hope; when unkindness, and cruelty maltreat the trusting heart, till it begins to doubt whether there be a God overhead who can see and still permit--these know something of the "horror of great darkness."
It is thus that human life is made up; rightness and gloom; shadow and sun; long tracks of cloud, succeeded by brilliant glints of light, and amid all Divine justice is working out its own schemes, affecting others equally with the individual soul which seems the subject of special discipline.
O ye who are filled with the horror of great darkness because of God's dealings with mankind, learn to trust that infallible wisdom, which is co-assessor with immutable justice; and know that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see the sun shining upon its further side.
Let us, by our Forerunner, send forward our anchor, Hope, within the veil that parts us from the unseen; where it will grapple in ground and will not yield, but hold until the day dawns, and we follow it into the haven guaranteed to us by God's immutable counsel.
--F. B. Meyer
The disciples thought that that angry sea separated them from Jesus. Nay, some of them thought worse than that; they thought that the trouble that had come upon them was a sign that Jesus had forgotten all about them, and did not care for them.
Oh, dear friend, that is when troubles have a sting, when the devil whispers, "God has forgotten you; God has forsaken you"; when your unbelieving heart cries as Gideon cried, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us?" The evil has come upon you to bring the Lord nearer to you. The evil has not come upon you to separate you from Jesus, but to make you cling to Him more faithfully, more tenaciously, more simply.
--F. S. Webster, M.A.
Never should we so abandon ourselves to God as when He seems to have abandoned us. Let us enjoy light and consolation when it is His pleasure to give it to us, but let us not attach ourselves to His gifts, but to Himself; and when He plunges us into the night of pure faith, let us still press on through the agonizing darkness.
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
When defeat seems strangely near!
Oh, for faith that brings the triumph
Into victory's ringing cheer--
Faith triumphant; knowing not defeat or fear.
What a wonderful, wonderful truth! I am so filled with thankfulness this morning!
I have known my share of darkness, as I'm sure you have as well. I had to use this as my devotional entry today as it is so fittingly, as often the Streams in the Desert series is, to my circumstances...
I write this December 22, 2016, almost 4 years since my dear Father has passed into glory. Many other circumstances since then have arisen in my life, at the LORD's allowance, and I have found myself again and again questioning His providence, His sovereignty, His allowing the things He does to occur in my life. And I am still left with my questions echoing into the fog as I struggle against the oars on the waves of life-trials. And yet, I read these words and they bring so, so much comfort.
Note the promises:
- ...know that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see the sun shining upon its further side.
- The evil has come upon you to bring the Lord nearer to you. The evil has not come upon you to separate you from Jesus, but to make you cling to Him more faithfully, more tenaciously, more simply.
I find myself not truly able to write much as I am so struck with the wisdom in these words. These words shout the Praise of Sovereignty, the Glory of Providence, the Majesty of Him Who calls us out of Darkness into His marvelous Light...But please note, that I believe we have allowed our circumstances, those of which have ALL been allowed by Our Heavenly Father, to cloud and distort what He longs to do in our lives; we are often left with far too many question that, again, blind us from His purposes in the darkness.
Yes, He works in darkness. I have come to a greater understanding of this truth. I must, I need, to know these words today and live in them! I truly believe this is a secret from God on high that each of us needs to apply to our moment-by-moment lives.
May we live in trust this day, and know without a taint of doubt, that He is, and will forever be, Our LORD, despite our circumstances or darknesses we experience. May we run towards Him today, in the darkness, and know that we need not run far, because HE is IN the darkness, teaching, consoling, loving, guiding and preparing us for eternity.