Lighting a Match in the Dark

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I think it was V. Raymond Edman who coined the phrase, “Never doubt in the dark what God has told you in the light.”

As I read Psalm 13 this morning I could hear David echoing that message. He begins with a lament: “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (13:1, 2, NIV).

It’s a sentiment that many of us are familiar with. Sometimes we go through spiritual dry spells. We aren’t told what David was going through at this moment that made him feel as though God had turned His back on him. His thoughts plagued him, he was sad and felt defeated. Perhaps he was going through one of those states of depression that from time to time dog all our steps.

Whatever it was, David felt that he was in danger of giving in to whatever was troubling his thoughts, to whoever was threatening his life. He writes: “Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall” (13:3, 4, NIV).

David knew enough to go to God even when he hadn’t heard from God in a while. This was practicing in the darkness what he had learned in the light. There is also a bit of a challenge here, a little of David the warrior reminding himself as much as he might think of reminding God that if he, David, goes down in defeat, God’s reputation is going to take a hit.

But David had learned in the good times, in the times of light, what he now claimed and clung to in this moment of darkness. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me” (13:5, 6, NIV).

God’s love doesn’t fail even when, from the human perspective, God had “left the building.” That was a promise that David hung on to. He rejoiced in his relationship with God, the one thing that no circumstance or no enemy could ever touch. His security was in God's saving grace. If he couldn't jump for joy in his present situation, he could look back and thank God for all that the Lord had done for him in the past.

God inhabits even the darkest corner and we, like David, can count on Him being there even when we can't see Him. We can know that nothing can touch what is really important, the salvation that we have through Jesus Christ. We can thank Him for all that He has done, with the assurance that He's not yet finished overwhelming us with His blessings.

And as we focus on those three truths, the darkness begins to fade.

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