[This is number nine of fourteen passages that sustained me in my dark palce a few years ago.]
10 Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
11 But now, all you who light fires
and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires
and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand:
You will lie down in torment. Isaiah 50:10-12
Evidently, darkness is not just reserved for the disobedient. When I “fear the Lord and obey the word of his servant” I still have to sometimes “walk in the dark” and rely on God to guide me through it. But, instead of trusting God in my dark place, I’m tempted to try to create my own light, to bring to my darkness a man-made light. I carry my own matches for such occasions.
When I insist on making my own light I force God’s hand to let me go my own way: “Go! Live in your own light then, if that’s what you want. Go ahead and give your will a try. Let me know how that works out for you.”
“You’ll lie down in torment.” Whoa! Those who haven’t trusted him in a trial will all be tormented in hell? No. That’s not what I get from this. When I lean on my own devices in the dark rather than rely on him I’ll be mentally and emotionally tormented rather than be comforted there! I bring a mental anguish on myself when I try to fix things for myself. The darkness doesn’t go away as I’d hoped, and my anxiety, instead of thinning, thickens.
When I can’t sleep at night because of worry and anxiety it’s often because I’m afraid that my own torch will fizzle out. Of course it’ll go out! My light won’t ever be enough. But if I “trust in the name of the Lord and rely on my God,” I’ll be able to lie down and sleep, knowing it’s all in his capable hands. Even when I lie down with things still very much unresolved, still broken; it’s not torment but peace that prevails in me. I may not be able to see where I’m going, but I know who’s going there with me.
“Darkness comes. You can’t avoid it. But when it does, don’t try to extinguish it with devices of your own. You’ll find that your own fires only make the darkness more terrifying. Try trusting me in the dark. Someday, maybe soon, my sun will rise and vacuum up every molecule of darkness. Until then, when you can’t see, rely on me. I can.” Jesus