Thursday, December 1, 2016

When Darkness Closes In - Martin Wiles

A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles. Daniel 6:17

Total darkness can be frightening.

My wife and I drive away the total darkness in our home by placing night lights at selective places. One in the bathroom makes it possible for us to see how to use the bathroom at night without having to turn on a lamp or overhead light. Night lights in the den keep our animals satisfied. 

Total darkness didn’t seem to bother Daniel. Jealousy drove his enemies to arrange a deal with the king that resulted in Daniel being thrown to the lions. Reading his story in the Bible can mask how dark this experience truly was. No overhead lights or oil lamps decorated the den. Daniel sat, stood, or laid in total darkness. He heard the lions pacing and roaring. He probably smelled their wild hides but never saw how closely they came to him. 

The trials and tribulations of life can bring what appears to be total darkness. I’ve experienced quite a few such periods. This much I know: total darkness never indicates God’s absence. My sin or God’s testing may have ushered in the darkness, but God never leaves my side regardless of the cause of the darkness. He is still working. If I’ve sinned, I need to confess and repent. If He is testing me, I need to develop my trust in Him to do the right thing. 

In periods of total darkness, God can and often does feel nearer. Darkness reminds me I control nothing. God does. His ways are higher than mine, and His thoughts are beyond my understanding. He is the creator and controller. My duty is to walk by faith. 

Daniel was in darkness because of the work of his enemies. Satan can bring periods of darkness. The Bible compares him to a prowling lion. Daniel’s episode reminds me God has the power to close his mouth. Satan is on God’s leash and can only do what he is allowed to do. God commands the darkness.

When my periods of darkness are over, I need to help someone else understand God’s power and compassion. Daniel witnessed to the king about his God. God doesn’t want me to waste my experience but rather to use it to help someone else. 

How are you reacting when your periods of darkness creep in?

Prayer: Father, when our periods of darkness come, we ask You to shine Your light around them.

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