Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When the Dark Moments Come

When the Dark Moments Come
By Judy Vandiver

One of the darkest times I have experience was following major surgery. The immediate physical danger had passed and I was healing. Or so I thought. But medications prescribed to speed my recovery brought on another problem as I spiraled into a deep depression. I was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep. I was hungry, but couldn’t eat. I wanted happiness, but continually cried. I struggled like this for several weeks. I will probably never forget the feelings of despair during those dark and lonely weeks.

God knew my darkest moments before the beginning of time. I decided when I reached Heaven, I would ask Him why He had not removed those moments from my path. I thought, “If He saw them, knew they were bad, had the power to change them, and loved me; why didn’t He do something about it?”

One day I realized I don’t have to wait until I get to Heaven to ask Him. I prayed, asking Him for wisdom. I can see now where many of what I considered my low points or times of despair, were actually the very things that shaped me into who I am today.

My husband used to raise a menagerie of animals. Chickens were among them. One time, during a cold spell, Steve brought an incubator full of eggs into my kitchen. For three weeks, I daily worked around the eggs. Finally, I heard small tapping noises coming from the area of the incubator. I peeked inside. Tiny cracks, like scratches on a piece of furniture, appeared on some of the eggs. Within days, the incubator (and my kitchen) was filled with soft, high-pitched chirps.

But one egg remained. I could hear the tapping. I could see the cracks. I could hear peeps coming from inside the egg. But the chick was having trouble. I told Steve how I hated to watch him struggle so much. We thought maybe he had an especially hard shell. We knew not to break his shell away completely, but maybe. . . just maybe. . . if we helped widen one of the cracks, he would be able to peck his way through the rest.

So, we gently increased one of the small openings the chick had made. Not too much. Just a little. And it worked. Very soon, the final chick joined his brothers and sisters. But, within hours, we noticed something was wrong. By the next morning, the chick was dead. He wasn’t strong enough to survive.

We realize now that when the chick was in the dark interior of the egg, trying to get into the light, he was being strengthened. Steve and I had made it too easy for him. He didn’t develop into the strong chick he needed to be.

God showed me that when I dwelled in my dark moments, He could easily have brought me into the light. But He would have done so at the risk of my becoming weak. It was the chipping away at the shells of life that strengthened me and helped me grow.

When I went through the depression I mentioned earlier, many of my family and friends showed great concern. I could see on their faces that if they could, they would have instantly helped me into the light. But it was in the dark moments, that I learned what I was made of. It was in the dark moments that I saw my need for Christ. And it was in the dark moments that Christ ministered to my spirit.

Genesis 1:14-19 is the scripture reference for today’s Bible study:

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. He set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

God knew we would have dark moments. He knew that we needed them. But how wonderful that when He physically created the sun, moon, and stars, He also made sure there would be light, even in what we call “the dark.”

And when He created spiritual light for us, He explained that He is the Light. He is the One that will illuminate our paths. John 8:12 tell us that Jesus addressed a large crowd. He said to them, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.”

Just as God created the moon and stars for physical light on Earth, he reminds us that He too, will shine—even in our darkest moments. You may have to be more observant. You may have to concentrate on the light rather than the darkness, but isn’t that the same for us with physical darkness. But the darkness cannot overtake our Lord. Scripture tells us, “The Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it.” John 1:5

To Ponder on:
  1. What happens if you enter a dark room and flip the light switch? What happens if you enter a dark room and do NOT flip the light switch?
  2. Was the room really in total darkness without the electrical light? What allows you to “see” in a darkened room? Which changed – you or the darkness?
  3. We all experience dark moments, but God can dispel the darkness. Can you recall a dark time in your life? What happened?
  4. In your dark moments, did God dispel the darkness? If your darkness remains, He is the source of light. Go to him for light.
  5. God continued to shape the Earth. When He made us our shaping began, but God wants to continue shaping us today. Are you allowing God to shape you?

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