Even in the Darkness
"...all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it to dry land." Exodus 14:21b (NIV)
Does God feel far away? Do you feel alone and afraid? Does life seem dark?
At one point I answered "yes" to each of these questions. Following a tragic incident in my life, fear filled my heart. God seemed so distant and I felt completely alone.
During that very dark time, God lead me to the story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. Initially, Pharaoh agreed to let God's people go, but soon after they left, he changed his mind. He began to pursue them with 600 of his best chariots. The approaching army terrified the Israelites. They cried out to their leader, Moses.
Moses reminded the people of God's promise that He would deliver them. But circumstances barreling toward them said otherwise. The Israelites heard the rumbling of the chariots charging at them. They saw a huge body of water blocking their only escape.
Can you imagine their fear? The reality they knew was that Pharaoh's finest soldiers were pursuing them, and there was a colossal obstacle, the Red Sea, preventing their escape. God's people had no idea the miracle awaiting them.
When Moses stretched out his hand over the water, Scripture says, "...all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it to dry land" (Exodus 14:21b NIV). Because it was dark, the Israelites couldn't quite see what God was doing.
In the black of night, the Lord tirelessly worked on behalf of His children to deliver them, just as He had promised.
It's as if the words of this story leapt off the pages of Scripture and into my desolate heart. Although the Israelites could not see or hear God, He was moving in the midst of their darkness. I too could not "see" or "feel" God, but He was at work around me in invisible ways - present and active on my behalf to carry me through my bleak place.
In the dark, we have two choices. We can take matters into our own hands, turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, seeking advice or reading the latest self-help book, never knowing if any of them is the way to healing and wholeness. Or we can look to God. We can open His Word, knowing He guarantees healing and wholeness.
Would you like the truth of God's Word to come alive for you? Would you like Him to come alongside you? You need only ask. The Lord promises, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Like He was for the Israelites, He is there for us. And He is always working on our behalf, even when we can't see or feel Him.
Today, if you are in the darkness; if your circumstances are threatening to consume you; if you feel utterly defeated... seek the Lord. Ask Him to rescue you and remember this, He is there... parting your "Red Sea" even now.
Dear Heavenly Father, it is so difficult to walk through darkness. You feel so far away. I feel so alone. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me, and that there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate me from the love I have in You and in Your Son. Walk ever so closely with me during this darkness, Lord. Speak to me. Give me hope. Show me the treasures in my darkness. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to...bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captive and release from darkness for the prisoners..." (NIV) God the Healer, Jesus the Redeemer, binds up my brokenness, shows me the way to freedom, and releases me from the darkness. He is waiting for me.
Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to do a mighty transformational work in our lives. Are my difficult circumstances part of His refining process to help me trust Him and make me more like Him?
1 John 1:5b, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (NIV)
Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus." (NIV)