June 18, 2008

Sometimes We Feel Lost in Total Darkness

2008 1517 page24 capT WAS DARK, I WAS LOST, AND HE KNEW IT—he, being a 4-year-old little chatterbox. In the car, by the side of the road, with the light on, checking the directions once again.
To avoid another barrage of questions, I started asking him questions. He went over his A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s. Then I inquired about any songs he might know. He started singing “I’ve got my mind made up and I won’t turn back because I want to see my Jesus someday”—a verse from a traditional Christian song. Then he stopped and started singing a verse from “Locked Up” by Akon. (“Locked up, they won’t let me out, no, they won’t let me out.”) Not a Christian song.
The Choices We Make
The two songs made me think of the choices we make each day: good versus evil, light versus darkness, freedom versus bondage. The eternal battle for our souls summed up in less than a minute by a 4-year-old. Each day we make choices that will keep our “minds made up” and focused on Jesus or “locked up” in darkness and held in bondage to the whims of the devil. Choosing to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour is definitely a movement in the right direction. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).*
Leaving from your starting point is one thing, but finding your destination, even with directions, can be a stressful experience. Someone once said, “Wherever you go, there you are.” True, but is it where you really want to be? How do Christians navigate in a world that seems “locked up” in bondage to the darkness? Psalm 119:105 states: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” In other words, a light in the darkness.
Taking time to delve into God’s Word helps to guide our way. And maybe that’s the point: we need to take time. You may be saying “Time! What time? If it’s not work, it’s family, friends, other obligations, something in need of repair!”
2008 1517 page24You have high stress, high expectations, high blood pressure. You’re trying for perfection, on the go 24/7. You have to be on time, can’t be late. What will people think? You can’t let them down. All these things going on; so much to do. No time to rest.
The next thing you know, you’re cranky; you’re hungry; you’re stressed; you want to be left alone; you want to get some sleep; you want so and so to get off your back; you want to get away. You just need time to think.
Spiritually, you’re pulled over to the side of the road, in the dark trying to figure out how you got to where you are. What happened? You took a wrong turn—that’s what happened. By not following the directions and spending time with God we get distracted easier by the things of this world.
You may be wondering: Is God’s Word really that important to my everyday life? The answer is yes; God’s Word is life. Hebrews 4:12 states: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (NKJV).
Powerful, piercing, sharper than any two-edged sword. Is it a bird, a plane, Superman? No. It’s the Alpha and Omega, it’s alive! And it is God’s own communication.
Wearing Us Down Drop by Drop
The Word is love, guidance, discipline, protection, and a powerful weapon against the enemy. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). An enemy called Lucifer who wants to keep us in bondage any way he can.
“Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). It doesn’t say “whom he may tease, or toy with, or chase”—even though he may also do these things. Rather, the word used is “devour.” One dictionary defines “devour” as: to swallow or eat up voraciously, to absorb or engross wholly. It doesn’t have to be all at once. No. It often happens little by little, year after year, month by month, week by week, day by day. A little, consistent drip of water can wear down a mountain.
It’s fascinating how easily and quickly the human eye can get accustomed to darkness. The shock comes when you have been in the dark for a while and your eyes are hit with a bright light. You close them; turn away from the light; try to block the light with your hands; put on sunglasses; attempt to turn down the light, if possible; yell at the one who turned on the light; attempt to turn the light off yourself. And if it’s really bright, you may just turn around and head back into the darkness.
Even as a Christian, when you take that step toward the “light,” your response could be any of the above.
In life just as in driving, many times—even with a set of “directions” (the Word of God)—we can make a wrong turn; we make mistakes. Sometimes a wrong turn can take us far away from our intended destination. And sometimes it can land us in a ditch on the side of the road. Sometimes it can kill us.
What to Do?
In everyday life we may check with our Global Positioning System (GPS); call AAA (the auto emergency service); call a friend; or call 9-1-1. Why don’t we try doing the same thing spiritually? Paul says: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Rom. 8:15).
Call out to Jesus. He is there whenever and wherever you need Him. The lesser the light the more the darkness. No matter how old or tough you are, to be lost and alone can be a scary experience. So when you’re in the dark, when you’re lost, remember: God knows it!
In the words of the prophet: “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:4-6).
No Time to Lose
Why should we wait another minute? Let’s get our thoughts, words, and actions headed in the right direction. As Christians we’re under an eternal warranty, purchased through the blood of Jesus. Let’s ask Jesus to set us back on the right course. When we have our “mind made up” to focus on the directions of God, we will begin to notice that we’re no longer “locked up” in the darkness and lost. Light overpowers darkness. “If the saints of God with deep humility fast and pray, their prayers will prevail. Jesus will commission holy angels to resist Satan, and he will be driven back, and his power broken from off the afflicted ones.”1

Why would He do this for us?
          1. Because we matter to Him. He wants us to have joy.
          2. Because He loves us more than we will ever fully comprehend (see John 3:16; 1 John 4:8).
My prayer is that whether times are easy or hard, we remember what a mighty God we serve. “I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’”2
*All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are from the King James Version.
†Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ” 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
1Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, p. 103.
2Cited in Minnie Louise Haskins, The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 2nd ed. (1953), p. 239.
Kennyetta Fields-Williams serves as treasurer for women’s ministries at the Seventh-day Adventist church in Williamstown, New Jersey.