WHEN THE PATH IS DARK
Yesterday, December 28, 2013 was a day thousands of Americans had their fragile life line of Unemployment benefits severed. The flickering light of hope was extinguished and the path ahead lay in darkness. Glyn and I are among those who fall into this category of uncertainty. He lost his job as a Hospice Chaplain nearly 8 agonizing months ago, every door he has tried has remained closed and now he is facing turning 70 years old in twelve days’ time. There are those who are fortunate enough to retire comfortably at his age but sadly that is not the case for us.
For several weeks now I have wrestled with anxiety filled emotions, bombarded God with questions concerning His faithfulness to us yet, found no answers. I told Glyn yesterday I was experiencing a “crisis of faith”!
Today while meditating on the Word and desperately searching for just a “crumb” from God’s promises; three, seemingly insignificant things happened, that I firmly believe were orchestrated by God.
First a friend posted a thought on Face Book that grabbed my attention big time! I would like to quote the portion of his comments that particularly spoke directly to my heart:
“If you spend time worrying, fretting and stewing over tomorrow’s problems you have actually taken away the joy, peace, serenity and loveliness of today. None of us have that many todays to squander on things that may never be a today problem, when we actually get there. Enjoy today’s ride with its many blessings and deal with the problems at hand that you are confronted with.” (Quote by Phillip Webb)
I sat mulling over the powerful truth that our friend had posted. It was so true! Each day that God gives us EVEN IF THE PATH BEFORE IS DARK, is a day to be lived to the fullest while we immerse ourselves in the joy of God’s provision for THAT day. Tomorrow’s fears and problems might never come but if they do, God will be there to shine a light on the darkened path!
The second thing that happened was while I was letting this truth sink deep with in my heart, the Lord reminded me of an experience Glyn and I had while missionaries in Africa. We were at Rufaro Mission in Rhodesia. There was no electricity on the Mission compound, so for the most part we used the old hurricane lanterns to give a measure of light, once darkness set in. On this particular evening we needed to walk from the house down to the kraal (corral) to check on a cow that had given birth to a calf that day. As we stepped out onto the verandah, the darkness enveloped us like a blindfold as our eyes tried desperately to adjust to the deep night. Glyn was carrying a hurricane lantern – its yellow light radiated a few feet on the path, giving us very little warning of any type of danger lurking in the darkness ahead. We were accustomed to the deep darkness of the African night so walked confidently in the little circle of light the lantern gave us. Just as we were about halfway to the cow kraal, Glyn let out a gasp and told me to stand still and not move my feet. In the glimmer of the outer reaches of the hurricane lantern’s light was a Puff Adder stretched across the path. One more step and we would have stepped on it. The Puff Adder is a “back fanged” viper, so it strikes backwards and its poison fangs penetrate deep into the flesh. This was not a snake you wanted to mess with! As I remembered this incident that we experienced over 30 years ago, I once again felt the Lord nudging me.
Yes, our future path is dark and fearful but we do not walk it alone – the Lord WALKS ALONGSIDE US and His Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path so I did not have to become anxious about our future! His Word gives us this promise:
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Finally the third thing that happened was in my daily readings I always read a Psalm along with other passages of scripture I am following. Today I read Psalm 27 and once again the Lord was waiting to drop another “orchestrated promise” on me. I came to verse fourteen and just stopped reading and let the words of that verse soak over me as the gentle surf rolls onto the shoreline.
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
I have to confess that my first reaction was: “You have to be kidding Lord! We have already waited for nearly 8 months!! You really want us to wait some more?””
Waiting is one of the hardest things to do in the entire world! (Many are still waiting, impatiently I might add, for Christmas packages to arrive!).
Waiting on the Lord is a different matter. God loves us more than we can even imagine. Everything He does in our life shows His perfect love for us EVEN WHEN HE HAS US WAIT!
Once I had swallowed the pill of instruction to WAIT, I was able to digest the rest of the verse.
The Psalmist instructs us that while waiting we are to BE STRONG. Anxiety, worrying and stewing are not descriptions of “being strong”. These words don’t even belong in the same sentence!
Being strong means that when our path is dark before us we are to walk by faith and not by sight!
The next thing that verse encouraged me to do was to “TAKE HEART AND WAIT”. The Psalmist did not say “take heart and run”………… but “take heart and wait”! This tells me that Glyn and I can wait in CONFIDENCE; no matter how dark and uncertain our future appears God has already gone before us and day by day He will order our steps.
So my friends when the path before you is dark and uncertain; WAIT, BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART for the Lord is with you!