DARK PLACES [4c]

There are times in the bible where people experienced a dark place, meaning they are under pressure and perhaps pressed beyond measure. Christ on the cross experienced such a darkness as to cry out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? There was also a physical darkness that came over the land while he was on the cross. When he was in the garden his sweat was like great drops of blood, such was the intensity of the stress he was under. Paul in Romans 7 describes the darkness of exasperation and probably depression, where he eventually says, “Wretched man that I am…”.  Paul as Saul, was made blind by the light that appeared to him on the road to Damascus. A bit like Jesus said “If the light in you be darkness, how great is that darkness.” His sight was restored once that darkness had been replaced by the Spirit (of life).

Joseph was put down a pit and sold off to slavery, by his brothers. He must have been in a dark place then, and subsequently when his life was on the line, also.   His brothers meant it to harm him, but God meant it for his good.

Job, whom I know little about, ended up in the dust, covered in boils, and lost everything precious to him. His friends said it was his fault. His wife said “Curse God and die”. And Job had this conversation with God, that showed Job himself needed to rearrange his thinking regarding God, who eventually blessed him and restored him.

It appears that these things come against us to try us and test us out, to reveal what we are made of, and to gauge our response. The whole of life appears to be a struggle, not simply to annoy us, but to cause us to have a bit of a think about what’s really going on. It says he has subjected the whole of the creation to futility, in the hope that some might find the way back to him. It also says that all things work together for good with those who love God. It appears the law, rather than being an ogre, is there to show us we need a complete revamp of our lives, so that we end up as wretched people who become intensely aware that there is something wrong, something missing.

In this sense, every life experience is adding knowledge by those  experiences, to put us in the position of seeking God, or putting us in the position that when God comes knocking, there is the opportunity to respond.

Interesting that the original problem, started by Adam’s deviation from truth and integrity, was the search for increased knowledge to grow and establish their lives, but it was this very knowledge that brought them undone! Now it appears as if this process was inevitable in order for them to pass through the process of awareness of what right and wrong were, so ultimately they could make the right choices.

How disadvantaged some appear to be though, where some seem born “with a silver spoon in their mouth”, while others are brought up poorly. But it is the family moralistic situation that is important. There are so many dysfunctional families, that dysfunctionality is passed on in so many ways to their children. This distorts their view of life and results in more dysfunctional adults.

It seems somewhat unfair that many start life “behind the eightball”, yet that is how it is. And the more “civilised” and “educated” the society, the worse this seems to get.

So many people can end up in a “dark” place. But there does not always necessarily appear to be an automatic silver lining to many people’s stories.

God has always presented witness to himself though, and many disregard the signposts to his existence and purpose for their lives. He bears witness to the fact of himself, by the very creation we see with our eyes. We experience (hopefully), love from our parents, and we see the beauty of the creation. Birds, flowers, children. Babies that even as babies smile in response to our smiling at them. The shared lives with our wives and husbands and the children we bring up.

There is a dark side to this life, and it is the side that appears when we act selfishly without regard for others. It is the human nature that controls us when we deny the call of a higher sense of destiny. It is the darkness of depression when we are trying to gain for ourselves that which we should not be seeking, and in which we find only frustration and disappointment.

The Jews wandered around the countryside for 40 years, when it should have only taken them a fraction of the time to work out where they were supposed to be heading. Consequently, because of their disobedience, many of them never got to see that life that God had promised. It wasn’t God’s fault, it was their failure to even try to see what might be going on.

Interesting that the nation of Israel is a symbolism for we ourselves in our life’s journey.

God has given us the answer. He is the light that overcomes the darkness, and has already overcome it through giving his son to experience our deficient lives, on the cross, and to suffer that wretched man darkness for us, on our behalf. We must have that guaranteed hope and trust in his promise of a life that is one that is overcoming of obstacles, and which, in the process, reveals all the wonder of his beauty. He has promised a brilliant life, but we need to believe him and follow his guidance, because to proceed without light is to stumble in darkness.

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life”.

We become what we believe. If we believe the lie, such as Adam and Eve did, we will fail. But if we believe the truth (and the self evident truth of love, joy and forgiveness), we will live. But we must find peace with God or we will never be at peace with ourselves.  Jesus brought us that peace, because he took on himself all the sadness and sorrow that we feel as those who feel lost and abandoned to a life without purpose, meaning and love. To deny him is to deny ourselves, but to deny ourselves is to acknowledge him. If we deny the author of life and love, then what kind of book will our lives become?

He himself has entered the darkest of places on our behalf, and has overpowered them. We owe no debt to this darkness, because he has deleted it for us, at his own cost.

The darkness is failing and the true light is already shining. Look for the light, it is not far away!

[“all things work together for good with them that love God”]

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