“To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust him in the dark – that is faith.” – C.H. Spurgeon
Today in the 21st Century, we are increasingly misunderstanding what it means to have faith in God. Trust in God’s daily provision is often misconstrued into irrational expectation of excess and prosperity. Faith that God will use us greatly in the world is often confused with our cravings to be “successful” in the world (not always the same thing).
I’ve heard too many pastors teaching about God’s blessings that they miss the opportunity to talk about God’s presence at our darkest. They often start with “You may be hurting…”, but they end with “God will bless you if you have faith!” Yes…And no…Yes, God blesses us, but not always in the ways we have in mind. What these pastors fail to address is that, sometimes, bad things happen to people with great faith, God doesn’t always give us what we desire, and His ways are not our ways.
In the Scriptures, we see a different painting of heroes who possessed great, radical faith:
Job was a man who lost everything, was consumed with sorrow, and still refused to curse God. Yes, God restored him eventually, but during his hardships his friends scorned him and his wife told him to curse God so that he could die (she seems like a peach). Even so, he had faith that God would show up on the scene and bring justice for his suffering. He kept his sights upon the promises of God, not the temporary darkness of his present situation.
Rahab was a harlot who gave shelter and protection to two Israelites who had been sent to spy on the land that God promised Israel. A HARLOT was the person who gave them refuge and safety through their journey. She put her own life in danger (in her own land!) by standing with the men sent by God. It must have taken great faith for Rahab to stand against all that she knew in order to participate in the story God was weaving through Israel.
Of course, there were many other heroes of the faith throughout Scripture who were betrayed by their people (Jeremiah), wrongfully imprisoned (Joshua), and martyred in the name of Jesus.
One similar thread seems to entangle these heroes throughout history: they had great faith in moments of great darkness, not merely within moments of great light. When all appeared lost, they trusted the promises of God, even when the darkness was blinding.
It’s incredible how often we fake “great faith” when life is full of success and prosperity. “Oh, God has blessed me so much! I’m so full of faith that He will continue to bless me in my life!” I have heard this so often when prosperity, success, and happiness are overflowing in the lives of people, whether it be on social media or within the church. What is baffling is how often those same individuals question the presence, grace, mercy, and love of God during the darkest times when God appears to have forsaken them.
If we’re honest, I think we’re all guilty of such weak faith – faith that only trusts God when the writing is on the wall, not when the storms are raging wild around us.
Wouldn’t it be incredible to meet God in the darkest nights, not just in the light of day?
Haven’t you wanted to believe that God is with you in the chaos of life? Is it possible that you have become too focused on the storm that you’ve missed what God is doing in the shadows?
God is always with us, even in the darkest moments. Faith is how we see God when we can’t feel His presence and when we don’t understand why He’s allowing our hearts to break. Faith is the reminder that God is up to something, even as our world falls apart.
When we get down to it, let’s get real: we’re talking about God, not Kermit the Frog. This God is the same one who created the heavens and all of creation, including you. He’s also the same God who, rather than destroying humanity, came to us and died on our behalf so that we could come alive.
In the light of such an awesome God, we can trust with great faith that He is with us, even in the darkest nights.
Whatever you’re going through, I pray that you develop great faith that says “My God is with me through it all”. He is with you. He has not abandoned you. He loves you. He cares for you. He’s with you in the darkness.