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Today, I have a very special treat for you!
I’m sharing a devotional that features a few wise tidbits from one of my very favorite messages from Pastor Adrian Rogers.
I heard him preach this message in person, and I have read these words over and over in my Adrian Rogers Legacy Bible.
You can discover more about this special Bible HERE.
So, let’s get into the devotional and learn to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons of life.
- Do things ever seem DARK to you?
- Do you ever find that you are in the middle of a dark season?
Pastor Adrian Rogers once said, “You are either going into a dark season (a valley), in the middle of one or just coming out on the other side.”
We can endure almost anything if we know why it’s happening.
But we don’t always get the luxury of knowing why.
There are so many questions that we face from time to time.
For example, they can be questions like:
- When will I get to take a break or a vacation?
- Why did I lose my job?
- Why didn’t I get that job?
- Is there some reason my friends are leaving me out?
- Why can’t I seem to beat this temptation?
- Why won’t my children or my grandchildren talk to me?
- How am I going to pay these bills?
- Why do I feel so sad or overwhelmed or anxious?
Or they can be life-altering and heart-wrenching things like:
- Why is the bottom falling out in my life?
- Why did my husband or wife leave me?
- How am I going to press on?
- Why did my baby die?
- Why is my child so far away from the Lord?
- Or, why can’t I ever seem to get pregnant?
- Will I ever beat this cancer?
Often things hit us, and we don’t know why!
So, we listen to sermons and study our Bible study guides.
And we learn our little formulas and write down our promises and we think we have it covered.
We have it all figured out.
Just when we have it puzzled through, we plunge into deeper perplexity and despair.
That’s where Isaiah 50:10 comes in and helps us to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons of life.
It starts as you would expect and then it takes a surprising turn.
“Who among you fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of his servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon his God.” Isaiah 50:10
Now, wouldn’t you think that someone who obeys and fears the Lord will be walking in the light?
But that’s the surprise.
I believe there’s a discipline of darkness, so let me give you some propositions.
Here are some truths that I have observed.
There are five of these.
First, to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons of life, we must learn that those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness.
It’s true: those of greatest devotion may know the deepest darkness.
There seems to be a distorted idea that if you become a Christian, it will all be joy, light, sweetness, and roses.
But it generally doesn’t happen that way.
Countless Saints fear God and obey God and walk in darkness.
This was true of great Bible Saints like Job, Habakkuk the Prophet, John the Baptist, and the apostle Paul.
And I’ll bet if you think of those people that you respect most in the faith, you think of people who have been through incredible darkness in their lives.
One of the sweetest women that I ever knew was a lady named Mrs. Greer.
This lady was a prayer warrior. She had the most incredible joy-filled countenance.
And, she was faithful in church and in teaching the Bible.
But she had lived a very hard life.
At some point, her husband had walked out on her and her two children.
At another point, she had developed a serious illness that caused her to walk with a walker and move very slowly.
And yet… this woman exuded life, energy, passion, and the joy of the Lord!
Her dark seasons pushed her to love Jesus more.
And God didn’t spare her from going through pain.
He used it to make her who she was.
Transition – Here’s the truth: those of greatest devotion to God may know the deepest darkness of all. Now, let’s consider another truth.
Second, to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons of life, we learn that faith born in the light is often developed in the dark.
It’s true: faith born in the light is often developed in the dark.
When have you grown the most spiritually? Wasn’t it during immense difficulty and despair and heartache and tears?
God develops your faith when you look to Him and lean on Him.
Faith develops in the dark when you live by God’s promises, not His explanations.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t turn to Jesus more than I do when life is dark.
When I need him most, I get desperate for Him.
Maybe you have had the same experience?
My faith never grows more and develops more than when I go through a deep and dark season.
It’s like we meet Jesus in the darkness.
One of my sweet friends, who I’ll call Ann, went through a horrific season in her marriage.
As a young mom and happily married wife, Ann found out that her husband (who was a pastor) had been having an affair behind her back.
When the affair was discovered, her husband lost his job. And he begged her to stay with him.
She chose to stay with her husband. But she had to go through the years of repair and restoration that had to take place.
It took her a long time to both forgive and trust her husband again.
But she and her children and her husband were able to stay together, repair the relationship, and move forward.
Ann shared with me that there were about five years that were absolute darkness for her.
In her darkness, she reached out to another woman who had lived with an unfaithful husband. That woman taught her to get on her face, literally, with her Bible open and cry out to Jesus.
Day after day, week after week, and year after year, Ann did this.
She shares that in the darkness and the crying out, she met Jesus like she never had before.
Although she NEVER would have chosen to live through all that she went through with the affair, she also gained much.
The incredible sweetness that she found with her Savior in her deep woundedness was amazing. She drew closer to Jesus in the moments of greatest pain.
Perhaps you’re in a dark valley right now.
Could it be that this is your chance to let God develop your faith and to find Jesus like you never have before in your life?
Press in close to Him and find Him to be amazing and sweet!
Transition – So we see that faith born in the light is often developed in the darkness.
Third, to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons of life, we learn that some things are seen in the dark that cannot be seen in the light.
You will understand some things in the darkness that you will never understand in the light.
You will see stars at night that you wouldn’t even notice by the day.
When the darkness comes, we have the chance to observe, ponder, think, and reflect.
We notice truths that we never would have noticed when life was really good.
So, can I encourage you?
Get out your pen and your journal and take notes.
You will find such nuggets and gems in the dark places of your life.
Don’t waste this season. I know it’s hard, but I also know you are mining for gold right now.
Can I tell you that some of the most impactful and incredible words that I have written have come during the dark times, not from the happy, fun times?
Take great notes because God is going to use something that you learn and glean and discover in this season for whatever is coming next.
Transition – Some things are seen in the dark that cannot be seen in the light.
Fourth, to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons, it is better for you to lean on God in the darkness than stand in man-made light.
This is so challenging.
And Isaiah 50:11 warns against those who kindle a fire to light their darkness; they will lie down in sorrow.
If you fear and obey God and darkness overtakes you, that darkness has been ordained by God.
Did you catch that?
God very carefully strains through His colander/strainer those things He will allow into our lives.
And if He lets it through, it has a purpose.
It all has to go through Him.
And if it goes through Him and gets to you, it serves a purpose.
Here’s the part that’s so hard… especially for us as women… to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons.
If you sin or struggle against His plan, the light you find will be feeble and false.
When we light our own fires, it will not be a good thing.
When we solve our problems, we often regret our solutions.
In fact, we often make it worse.
Several years ago.
Several years ago, we were struggling financially.
Both kids were in college and tuition was expensive. And we were trying to figure out how to pay all the bills.
Randy and I both were in full-time ministry, and God had always provided for us.
But I got a call one day with an offer to make a whole lot of money.
It just seemed too good to pass up.
So, I jumped.
And honestly, I chose to do this job primarily because of the money.
I can tell you I prayed about it. But no matter what anyone said, I was going to take this job.
Deep down… there was a quiet nagging doubt in the back of my mind.
But I didn’t let it stop me.
I spent a hard year living in the light of the fire that I had built.
That was one of the most depressing, discouraging, and disheartening years of my entire adult life.
It was horrible.
Why? Because I didn’t wait on God to light my fire.
I didn’t wait on Him to provide financially. Instead, I jumped out on my own and lit my own fire.
And as Isaiah 50:11 says. “I fell down in great torment.”
Another translation says you “will lie down in sorrow.”
I can tell you that I drove to work in tears, and I drove home in tears for almost a year.
When God finally allowed me to move on from that job, there was sweet peace.
It was during that season I decided I would rather eat crackers and peanut butter, clip coupons, and struggle financially than ever try to light my own fire again.
What about you?
Are you tempted to light your own fire today?
Are you tempted to jump in and help God?
And, are growing weary, waiting for Him to light the fire and lift the darkness?
Don’t do it.
Don’t try to light your own fire.
Transition – The truth is… it is better for you to lean on God and darkness than to stand in man-made light.
Fifth, to discover greater courage as we walk through the dark seasons, remember that if your sun has set, it will rise again.
You may lie down and wet your pillow with tears, but friend, there’s a better time coming.
One day God will pull back the shades of night and pin them with a star.
He will open the door of the morning and flood your world with the sunshine of His love and His light.
You can trust the name of the Lord and rely on your God.
He will take care of you!
The Atlanta Couple
One of my favorite stories is about a young couple in Atlanta, GA.
We had the opportunity to meet them at a church we were in while living in Atlanta.
This couple had two young children, and the mom decided to quit her full-time job to stay home to take care of the kids.
They were going to live on the husband’s salary until he also lost his job.
Within two weeks, they went from a two-income family to a no-income family.
They had a beautiful home in the suburbs of Atlanta, and lots of bills to pay.
Things got dark for this young couple very quickly.
Then, someone let us know that there was a need, and we shared it with our Bible Study class.
We actually passed a plate around in our class and collected cash.
When the cash got to me, it was in the unusual total of $357.
Someone asked if we should round the number up to $360 or $375 or $400, but we decided to leave it exactly at that amount of money.
That night we put the cash in an envelope and took it over to the couple’s house and put it in their mailbox. Then we called them to let them know there was some money in the mailbox.
For a few days, I heard nothing.
Then I got a call and heard the sweetest story.
That young mom had a utility bill that she could not pay.
In her despair, she got on her knees on her linoleum kitchen floor and asked God to pay the bill.
On the day that she prayed, we put the envelope of cash in her mailbox.
Would you like to know how much the utility bill was?
It was $357!
That sweet young mom did not light her own fire. She prayed instead.
And God lit the fire.
God can light the fire every single time.
He can light the fire in your life!
So be reminded and encouraged today:
- First… Those of greatest devotion may have the deepest darkness.
- Second… Faith, born in the light, is often developed in the dark.
- Third… Some things are seen in the dark that can never be seen in the light.
- Fourth… It is better for you to lean on God in the darkness than stand in man-made light.
- 5th… If your sun has set, it will rise again.
I’m so thankful that Pastor Adrian Rogers always shared the truth and the hope of God’s word.
These words have encouraged my heart.
I pray that they will encourage yours as well!
We’d love to hear from you!
Also, let us hear from you! You can leave a comment below.
Or, you can email me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear what God is doing in your life… how He is growing your faith and working in your midst!
No matter if you are walking in sunshine, shade, rain, or darkness today, remember, we are ordinary women who serve an extraordinary God!
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