Fearing those monsters that lurk in the dark?

dawnOur church building has a high ceiling, 40 feet at the peak. That wooden structure is beautiful during the day. When darkness falls and the lights are turned off, it can be frightening. I know every corner in that sanctuary, and still – when I am alone there in the dark of night, I sometimes feel fear! The rafters creak and shadows dance on the walls and I am like a little boy again. My body goes into full alert mode, ready to run. Darkness creates a possibility of the ‘unknown’ and I start to wonder about the monsters that lurk beyond my sight. In the bright light of morning in that same room, I feel no fear whatever.

When we face uncertainties, when we do not know the way ahead, when we are confronted with things that appear to be insurmountable –  it is like darkness – and fear is a normal response, but not the only response.

Jesus told the men that He led that it was time for Him to go to Jerusalem. There, He said, “I’ll suffer rejection and die.” That awful thought was too dark and Peter objected. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”  Jesus knew that fear twists reason and drives people to bad choices, so He warned the disciples about the coming crisis.  When He told them that they would abandon Him at His betrayal, Peter boldly barked: “Maybe those other guys, but NOT me!”   Tenderly, but firmly, Jesus told Peter that he would fail spectacularly, even openly denying Him- which he did!  And, when Jesus was seized in the Garden, the disciples deserted Him scattering into the night in terror. That week ended with His crucifixion. John tells us that the disciples hid behind locked doors, deeply shaken and fearful.

And you think you’ve had a bad week?

God allows us to go through times of darkness!  And, though there may be no particular threat, just the dark can make us afraid and sometimes foolish. We need the same kind of assurance that David sang about.  “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid…” Why? “…for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23)  God may be hidden from us. Even when we cannot see Him – He is with us.

When we are walking through dark rooms of death, disappointment, or even demonic attack- He is with us.  Many years after his fearful failures, a spiritually matured Peter wrote to encourage disciples who are ‘in the dark.’  “Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT

In Acts 16, we learn about Paul and Silas in the dark! After doing much good in the city of Philippi, these godly men charged with disturbing the peace, beaten by the authorities, and chained to a wall in a filthy jail! I think I might have felt some fear, but even in the inner cell, at midnight, they found Light. The Bible says, “Along about midnight, Paul and Silas were at prayer and singing a robust hymn to God. The other prisoners couldn’t believe their ears.” (Acts 16:25, The Message) You know the rest of the story… an earthquake shook open the doors; the jailer’s heart was opened by the sincere faith he saw in these two evangelists; and the light broke through!

If you are walking in the dark, take your cue from David and declare – “The Lord is close to me!”

Like Paul and Silas, find a song to sing; not a mournful one, but a song of hope.

Here is a word from the Word. Throw open your heart, pull up the shades of your understanding, and let the Light shine in.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High.
It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening, …
You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.

O Lord, what great works you do!
And how deep are your thoughts. 

…the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. …
Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”
(Psalm 92:1-2, 4-5, 14-15, NLT)

_________________

Your Love Broke Through

Like a foolish dreamer, trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down, and I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds that hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I’ve been blind all these wasted years and I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through

All my life I’ve been searching for that crazy missing part
And with one touch, you just rolled away the stone that held my heart
And now I see that the answer was as easy, as just asking you in
And I am so sure I could never doubt your gentle touch again
It’s like the power of the wind

Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I’ve been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love, until your love, broke through

GREEN, KEITH
Published by
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

 

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