September 16, 2013
Fear in the Dark
"... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land." Exodus 14:21b (NIV)
God seemed distant and I felt completely alone after I was physically and sexually assaulted at knifepoint in my early 20s. For years after the attack, I lived cocooned in a prison of despair and hopelessness, fear hounding me. Finally, after years of searching for help and believing there was nowhere else to turn, I fell on my knees before God and poured out my tears, anger and questions to Him.
During that very dark time, God lead me to the story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. Initially, Pharaoh agreed to let God's people go, but soon after they left, Pharaoh changed his mind. He pursued them with 600 of his best chariots and terrified the Israelites. Can you imagine their fear?
They cried out to their leader, Moses. Even though Moses reminded the people of God's promise that He would deliver them, the circumstances barreling toward them said otherwise. Their reality included Pharaoh's finest soldiers hot on their heels, and the colossal Red Sea blocking their escape. God's people had no idea the miracle awaiting them.
When they reached the Red Sea, Moses stretched his hand over the water. Scripture says, "... all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land" (Exodus 14:21b). Because it was dark, the Israelites couldn't quite see the full picture of what God was doing.
In the black of night, the Lord tirelessly worked on behalf of His children to deliver them, just as He had promised.
It was as if the words of this story leapt off the pages of Scripture and into my desolate heart. Although the Israelites could not see or hear God, He was moving in the midst of their darkness. I too could not "see" or "feel" God, but He was at work around me in invisible ways—present and active on my behalf to carry me through.
The dark is a very scary place to be. Whether it's the darkness of our fears or circumstances pressing in, we have two choices as to how to respond. We can take matters into our own hands, turning to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, seeking advice or reading the latest self-help book, never knowing if any of them is the way to healing and wholeness. Or we can look to God. We can pray and open His Word, knowing He guarantees healing and wholeness.
For years I tried the first approach to deal with my darkness. Yet each attempt to help myself failed. It was only when I turned to God, crying out for His help, that things started to change.
Would you like to experience God's help for yourself? Ask. The Lord promises, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV). Like He was for the Israelites, God is there for us. And He is always working on our behalf, even when we can't see or feel Him.
Today, if you are in the darkness ... if your circumstances are threatening to consume you ... if you feel utterly defeated ... seek the Lord. Ask Him to rescue you and remember this, He is there ... parting your "Red Sea."
Dear Heavenly Father, it's so difficult to walk through darkness. You feel so far away. I feel so alone. Thank You for the promise that You will never leave me or forsake me, and that there is nothing in all creation that will ever separate me from the love I have in You and in Your Son. Walk ever so closely with me during this darkness, Lord. Speak to me. Give me hope. In Jesus' Name, amen.
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God's Story by Wendy Blight
For more of Wendy's story, visit her blog.
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Reflect and Respond:
Sometimes God allows difficult circumstances to do a mighty transformational work in our lives. How would viewing your difficult circumstances as part of His refining process help you trust Him and change your perspective?
1 John 1:5b, "God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (NIV)
Romans 8:38-39, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NIV)
© 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 16 September 2013.