There are certain things God wants us
to do when troubling times come into our lives. Last month we saw that
we are to stand still, rest in Godís promises, and stop asking why.
Now letís look at some other things.
We have spoken about doubt several times
already, but because this dark night is such a vulnerable time for us,
doubt can become a major factor. It certainly was with me. We must not
only cease striving in our own strength during this time, but we must
also cease doubting Him. Donít ask God why you have to go
through this fire. This is not a time to speak to Him, but simply a time
to humble ourselves before Him and suffer politely. Just know that what
God is doing in you, and through you, is very important and essential
for your growth.
Itís also important not to run to a friend or to the
phone first, but choose, instead, to be alone with the Lord. Reaffirm to
Him that all that matters to you is knowing and loving Him. Quote Psalm
73:25 to Him, "Whom do I have but You?" Say in faith,
as Job did, "For I know that my redeemer liveth and... in my flesh,
shall I see Him." (Job 19:26)
Fast from any emotional or intellectual security of
knowing, understanding and being right. One single attachment is enough
to prevent you from attaining the union that God so desires. Be patient,
believe in Him and listen for His voice. He knows about your every
thought, emotion and desire.
The best thing you can do is to accept the
trial graciously and stand back and see what God does. Surrender
yourself to the suffering. Donít look for a way out. Stay in the trial
if thatís Godís will and be willing to die to your "self."
Be willing to be stripped naked and obliterated if thatís what He
There is an instinctive rebellion in us
against what is happening. Itís called "survival." We must
stop all efforts to deliver ourselves and learn to lean on His
breast and trust in His Name. Because we feel what is happening is
not deserved, not warranted and not fair, this is the time we often take
matters into our own hands by "lighting our own fires." This
resistance we put up without realizing it is the source of much of our
trouble and as Isaiah 50:10 tells us, if we do this, "we will lie
down in sorrow and be destroyed."
The less we struggle, the less it will hurt. We need
to cease trying to figure out what God is up to and simply wait for Him
to act. Cry out to Him, "Lord, I give up. I canít fight. I
confess my self-pity, my rebellion. Itís all yours. Iím simply going
to trust You."
Remember, the battle is not ours, but the Lordís. He
has not forgotten us. He will always be faithful. Thus, we must stop
acting like He has forgotten all about us and abandoned us.
We mustnít pray for relief from the trial, but
rather pray for strength to endure it with courage, humility and love,
and to be changed by it. We wonít be able to weather the storms unless
we are willing to persevere and overcome. Romans 5:3 tells us that tribulation
brings about patience, and patience, if we allow it to, will bring
Much of our trouble springs from our not wanting to
give up our attachments, our support systems and everything else we rely
upon. The more we fight to save these things, however, the sharper our
trials will become. If we can willingly surrender ourselves to what God
is doing in our lives and permit the crucifying process to go unheeded,
then the blows will be much softer and the process will go a lot faster.
It is God who holds us fast to the cross and it is God who will loose
us from that cross when He sees fit. No one can change His plans. We
must simply seek His strength to endure.
Letís keep our eyes upon Him and run towards Him
like that eagle. Even if we donít see Him or feel Him or understand
His ways, He promises us that the darkness will eventually shrivel away
and the light will begin to shine. "Unto the upright there ariseth
light in the darkness..." (Psalm 112:4).
All the trials and tribulations God has allowed are
simply a part of the preparation process that He is implementing in each
of our lives. These night seasons are a necessary part of learning to
love and learning to know God intimately.
Guard Against Discouragement
As we read the words of David in Psalm 38, we find
this godly, righteous man discouraged and at the end of himself. Listen:
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly;
I go mourning all the day long... I am feeble and sore broken: I have
roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart...My heart panteth,
my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone
from me...I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that
openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in
whose mouth are no reproofs. (Psalm 38:6, 8, 10, 13-14)
One of the things I struggled with the most in my own
night season was discouragement. Nothing seemed to bring me down
faster than allowing disappointment and discouragement into my soul.
When we become discouraged and, thus, cling to our
anxieties, our fears and our self-pity, it not only strengthens them, it
also impedes what God is trying to do. We must be careful not to fall
into the mode of self-pity or wanting sympathy from others. Be assured, you
wonít get it. And, besides, it doesnít do any good anywayówe
only end up deeper in the pit than when we started. Our eyes cannot be
on anyone, or anything else, but God Himself. His approval and His
support is all we need.
Our greatest failure during this time is in allowing
our interior agitation and depression to become exaggerated. If we allow
our negative thoughts to go unchecked, our agitation and our depression
will not only quench Godís Spirit and deprive us of hearing Godís
voice, but it will also become an obstacle to our union with Him.
Itís imperative to learn how to "see" in
the darkness. Again, to see and to understand not so much what God is doing,
but rather what He desires of us. We must continue to walk
abandoned to His will and wait upon Him without any anxiety and without
any hunger for any experience. Our dependence must rest completely in
His Love and faithfulness so that, no matter what events are transpiring
in our lives, our spirit and our inner man remain at rest. This is one
of the main reasons God wants our inner man (our spirit) strengthened,
so that what happens to us on the outside (our soul) does not determine
our composure on the inside.
Stop Blaming Others
Another important exhortation is that, during this
time, we must stop blaming others. When God has appointed us to
suffer, He permits even the most virtuous people to be blinded towards
us. Thus, itís important not to harbor any resentment or
bitterness against those involved in our trials. By blaming others, we
really only condemn ourselves and that, of course, breeds more
insensitivity in us. Itís critical that we not justify our own
feelings or be governed by our self-righteousness.
God will repay those truly responsible for our
troubles in His timing and in His way. He is our defense and our
avenger. Psalm 94:22 tells us, "The Lord is my defense; and my God
is the rock of my refuge." Only God knows the real truth and only
He knows how to weave our lives together perfectly. We mustnít try to
vindicate ourselves, nor to help Him along. He will fight our battles
for us. We must simply stand still and watch.
Pray for the others involved; donít
blame them; leave them in Godís care and in His hands. Thank Him in
advance for delivering you out of their hands. And, above all, donít
give way to grief.
Also, donít speak about your problems to anyone
else. It only deepens your bitterness, programs those negative thoughts
in deeper, and gives the enemy another "hole." Therefore, try
to speak well of the other people involved. Ephesians 4:29 tells us,
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that
which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto
I know how very difficult this is to do, especially
when we are "justified" by the worldís standards to be angry
and bitter. But, giving way to our feelings and emotions about others at
this time only makes us more miserable, the enemy happier and the
whole process prolonged. I know! Iíve been there!
Submit to the confusion, the not knowing, the not
understanding and the not being right. Put your reason aside
and look only to God. Our reason cannot cope with the dark night that
God allows. We must live by faith and wait for the Spirit to resolve it
for us. We must remain receptive and positive,
not expecting to understand Godís ways, but simply trusting Him in
(continued next month)