When Night Is at Its Darkest

On one of my trips to Uganda, our mission team stayed at a place where the electricity was rationed. There were days and nights we did not have electricity. At night, because there was no streetlights or lamps, it was unbelievably—even unnervingly—dark. I was glad someone in the village was able to give me a couple of candles. They were small, but they were comforting enough to help me fall asleep. I woke up to be greeted by sunlight. The sun had not abandoned Earth.

There are times the “dark nights of the soul” can be extremely—despairingly—dark. There are nights of depression when the blackness can seem to swallow up the light, and like water fills every corner and gap. A person can feel as though he is literally drowning in his loneliness and despair.

In life, when night is at its darkest, when loneliness is at its most painful, when sadness is at its deepest, when despondency comes rushing in waves like a devastating tsunami, then one can find himself in an extremely vulnerable position.

That ancient serpent, the devil, comes with malicious deceit, whispering lies into the mind that seem to have impeccable logic. “If God is faithful, where is He? Nobody loves or wants you, why else is your mailbox void of letters and invitations? Why else does your phone remain silent? Those around you are successful, but what have you done? You haven’t accomplished anything! You’re just a blemish, a failure! If you were dead, your family would be better off and the world wouldn’t be at any loss. There are some razor blades in the garage or some pill bottles in the medicine cabinet.” The darkness  becomes seemingly unbearable.

Many have not experienced such a dark night of the soul or suffered such mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish. Give glory to God! But many know full well what I am talking about. Sadly, many get to the point where they can no longer endure the inner torment.

The promises of God can be like little candles in such darkness, but they can give a soft glow bringing some comfort to allow you to get some rest before the coming dawn—the dawn will come. The darkness will not extinguish the light:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ~ John 1:5

For he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?… What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:1, 23-24, 31-39

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

The lies of the evil one come like the fury of a hurricane, trying to blow out the flames of God’s promises, but one needs not fear, though hopeless he might feel. In the midst of the raging waters and violent winds, we are told:

It is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. ~ Hebrews 6:18-20

When night is at its darkest, keep close to you the light of God’s promises. Although you might feel despondent, God is faithful. Look to Christ, pray to Christ, cry out to Christ, cling to Christ, and trust in Christ. He will bring you safely to the coming dawn.

Be Not Afraid

We are living in turbulent times. This should not come as a surprise, since the Scriptures tell us:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. ~ 2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV)

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” ~ Hebrews 12:26 (ESV)

The closer Christ’s return draws near the more difficult things are going to become (see also Matthew 24). Nevertheless, the people of God do not need to be paralyzed with fear.

With the recent concerns of the Coronavirus, many have gone into an irrational panic, while others have tried to exploit the situation.

I question the chaos around me. Is the panic, closings, etc. truly warranted? What I do know is I am not in control—but my God is. Furthermore, whether by a virus or something else, I am going to die someday. What good is all the toilet paper and supplies worth, then, if I didn’t have Christ? Therefore:

I will not live in fear, what’s going to happen is going to happen. I will do the best I can day by day.

I will be thankful. Tomorrow I might not have a house, food, job, etc; but TODAY I do.

I will not hoard. I will purchase as I have need of just as I always have.

If my family, friends, or neighbors are in need, I will not close my heart to them if they need me. God knows that there are times I need them.

I will remember the poem, “If,” by Rudyard Kipling, for it is an excellent reminder of what it truly means to be a man in difficult times.

And I will try to not be so cynical of panic, hoarding, and attempts to exploit that I am aware of. How else should human depravity be expressed? Any peace, goodwill, or benevolence I might have simply comes from my Lord Jesus Christ. How truly arrogant of me whenever I think otherwise!

My friends, whatever may come, May we not be afraid. May we find comfort in God, and through Him support and comfort one another.

Several years ago I wrote the following song. I hope it may be of encouragement and comfort to your heart, mind, spirit.

Be Not Afraid (I’m Watching Over You)

Be not afraid, though nighttime approaches;
Though shadows stir within the dark.
Be not afraid, for I am your Starshine,
And I will be shining within your heart.

Be not afraid, though storm clouds might gather,
And tears might fall down like the rain.
Be not afraid of thunder and lightning,
Know that the daytime will come again.

Chorus:
Be not afraid, dear child,
You’re not alone;
Be not afraid, My child,
I am with you.
Be not afraid, dear child,
Though you can’t see Me;
I am your God, My child,
I’m watching over you.

Be not afraid, though winds might be howling,
Taunting you within the dark;
Be not afraid, for I will be whispering
My love and peace into your heart.

(Repeat chorus)

Be not afraid, no, be not afraid;
Be not afraid, dear child, be not afraid.
Be not afraid, no, be not afraid;
Be not afraid, My child, be not afraid.
I am your God, My child, I’m watching over you.

~ G.P.

To God be the glory. Peace to you. You are loved!