Greetings and God bless you and make you a blessing. This is Meditation Moments.
I was thinking how wonderful it will be when earth’s shadows flee away and heaven bursts upon us with all its glory and light: darkness forever gone! Those words are so fitting for that which I want to talk about.
When I was listening to the news report of the blackout in the New York area, there were a couple of remarks made by those that were there which struck me forcibly. One man said he could never express the feelings he had when the lights suddenly flashed on, lights that he had always taken for granted and never really been thankful for before.
It made me think of some of your letters which tell of personal blackouts, times of severe illness when it seemed that you would never recover, but one day deliverance came and you were well again. How glorious it was to be out of the darkness and into the light once more, free from the pain and sickness!
Only those who have been through such blackouts know how glorious it is when the lights come on again—never again to take such blessings for granted! I want to assure you that the lights will come on again if you do not waver, but if you’ll hold on to your promise, promises from God’s Word, and trust God implicitly when the darkness is on.
When the darkness is on, the thing that makes it blacker is the thought that you may never come out of it. Of course that’s doubt, and this is where the real Christian has such a great advantage. For he has faith, and he knows the day will come when God will send deliverance!
Faith is the victory, isn’t it? It was pretty dark for Paul when he was in jail, but he had such faith that he was able to live above his circumstances and conditions, so much so that he wrote in Philippians 4:11–13 (we’re using the 20th Century Rendition):
“Do not think that I am saying this under pressure or want, for I, however I am placed, have learned to be independent of circumstances. I know how to face humble circumstances, and I know how to face prosperity. Into all and every human experience, I have been initiated: into plenty and into hunger; into prosperity and into want. I can do everything in the strength of Him who makes me strong.”
Paul’s attitude did not change according to circumstances. The joy of the Lord was his strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Even in jail, he continued even there to live above those circumstances. That is why in Philippians 1:12 and 13 he says, “But I would that ye would understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest even in the palace, and in all other places.” Just think of the influence he had in that place, in that unbelieving place!
These personal blackouts of ours are such marvelous opportunities to show the world that our joy and our feeling of security don’t depend on natural conditions and circumstances at all. Billy Bray, the famous Cornish miner, one day went out to his garden to hoe potatoes. He said he heard Satan say, “Now Billy, isn’t that mighty poor pay for your serving your Father the way you have all those years? Just see those little runty potatoes!” Billy replied, “Ha, ha, Satan. You’re at it again, talking against my heavenly Father, bless His name! Why, when I served you, I didn’t get any potatoes at all! Why are you talking so against my Father?”
And Billy just continued to hoe and loudly praise the Father God for the little runty potatoes. Billy Bray was like Paul; he was an immovable Christian. Satan couldn’t move him; circumstances couldn’t move him off of His promise and his love for his Father and His faithfulness.
No wonder Paul could say, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24), and that was Billy Bray’s attitude. I’m positive there were dedicated Christians in that recent blackout that felt just that way. The blackness didn’t strike terror into their hearts nor take from them their feeling of security.
They had an inner source of strength, a supply that was above all circumstance. That is why Paul could write again, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:8–11).
There is an old saying, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!” When Paul came to the end of his rope, he took a promise and held on.
God has given you so many wonderful promises to hang on to, and they can shine like stars in your blackout. By the way, that’s another thing that someone said who went through the blackout. They said the thing that impressed them most in the blackout was that they could see the stars. It had been so long a time in New York since anybody had seen the stars!
Let me give you a few stars to help you through the dark place you are now passing through. I know there are those reading this that are passing through a dark place, and here are a few stars. Listen carefully and claim them. You can have them for your very, very own, and they’re from God’s precious Word.
“O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:9, 10, 19, 7).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:12, 14).
“Verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). Then He says, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:3).
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and they are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). These are the stars that can shine in the Christian’s night, or the blackout. “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).
What a wonderful feeling when in the dark, to know that God is there! That He’s right there. I know some of you feel that way. He’s right there, we know He’s there, and we have nothing to fear.
I thought this was such a precious little poem:
A little child lay in the dark
The room was strange, he saw nowhere.
He was afraid; but then he called,
"Father, are you there?"
He felt a hand, so strong and warm,
Close clasping his, then calm and clear
He heard his father’s tender voice,
“Yes, laddie, I am here!”
Like that small child, we sometimes feel
That we are in the dark of care;
In terror of some harm, we call,
“O Father, are You there?”
We reach our hand to Him and find,
A blessed answer to our fear;
His hand holds ours, we hear His voice,
“Fear not, for I am here.”
So though we tremble in the dark,
In need of strength and help and cheer,
We have a tender Father’s word,
“Fear not, for I am here!”
“Father, Are You There?” by Dinnie McDole Hayes
Last night I was preparing for bed when I had a phone call from a woman who had fallen and sprained her ankle. She was weeping with pain and frightened, and I hurried to her home and took her to the hospital.
I prayed, but she talked all the time of her fear, and how everything happened to her and God didn’t treat her so and so. I don’t think she heard a word of the prayer! She doesn’t have any stars in her night at all; the lights didn’t come on no matter what I said. She hadn’t learned to live above conditions and circumstances. She never let God have a chance.
Another man who went through the blackout said the thing that impressed him was that he felt that it was a good thing that happened, for at least it partially prepared them for the real thing—that it was sort of a rehearsal. And may I say to you that all these little trials of every day and how you let them get you down when God is really by you and preparing you for victory and greater trials when they come, they’re just a dress rehearsal that shows us how we would react in some really great tragedy.
But if we live above these little trials of every day and get the victory there, we will be ready for any big blackout that comes. He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9).—Grace that gives you power to bravely bear the trial without murmuring and complaining; grace to be fully resting in His power and trusting.
God help that this shall be so. His grace is sufficient for thee. Amen.