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Darkest Hour - A Devotion

Darkest Hour

Mark 10:50-52 (NLT) Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. Why can’t I “see” what the Lord is doing in my life? Truly I cannot. I do not know what lies ahead a year, a month, a week, a day or even an hour from this very moment although I sense that something new is coming. Why doesn’t the Lord show us what lies ahead? Why is it such a secret? The Lord came to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. Some are instantly changed while others it will take time. From season to season, the Lord works in the heart and mind of those who love Him to get them to accept that His Plan is better and His Promises true. But nevertheless, we are a reluctant and rebellious bunch of people who tend to wait on desperation to finally call out to the Lord with an ounce of sincerity. “My suffering was good for me for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.” (Psalm 119:71) I completely agree with the psalmist because before experiencing brokenness, sorrow and suffering I did not pay close attention to the Word of God and all its decrees. My relationship with Jesus Christ was more of an acquaintance. He was the Name I dropped in church. Or the One I called when in a bind. But not the Lord who I relied on, trusted in and surrendered to. I was blind to the Power of God’s Word. I did not need God like that. Life was good. Way better than I ever anticipated that my life would turn out. We loved God. We served Him. We tried to live a righteous and godly life. God rewards those who seek Him. Those who earnestly and wholeheartedly pursue Him are the ones His Plan is for. (Jeremiah 29:13) He gives everyone the opportunity but few will answer His Call. When Bartimaeus heard that the Lord was close, the blind man sprang into action. This was his chance. He heard that Jesus healed the blind and at the present moment this man fit that description. When he made his way to Jesus, the Lord asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” Most blind beggars would ask for money or food, but this man wanted to see. “I want to see!” His faith in Jesus Christ healed the man of blindness. His Response? He followed Jesus Christ. When Bartimaeus rose up that day it was by faith, he could not see a thing. He asked Jesus for the impossible by faith in hope that He would heal him. Jesus did it. This is the circle of faith and hope that establishes our relationship with God. He is constantly on a mission to open our eyes so that we can see His Glory in our life. It requires faith. Hope motivates us to move. Are there any blind Bartimaeus’ out there who like me are desperate for a change in their life? Any who are blind but want to see? We must call out to the Lord in faith with confident hope that He will do what His Word has promised us. After all, Jesus is the Light of the World. John 9:1-5 (NLT) As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” Thomas Fuller wrote that “the darkest hour is just before dawn.” This is so true. Just returning from caring for our son during his bone marrow transplant and trying to reestablish my regular routine has proven quite challenging. I am not worried or concerned about my son. He is doing quite well. We don’t know what the future holds but we thank God for His Promise and Plan for our son’s life that continuously has proven to be a good one with a future and hope. But now it is time to get back to “normal” life for the time being. My normal life is gone. Change is all around me. The darkness of the hour is not fear but anticipation. God is doing something in our life. It is a new thing. I feel like I am blind and groping through the darkness trying to see what comes next. I want it. I desire it. I am pursing it but why can’t I see a thing? When the Pharisees began questioning Jesus about the blind man, they tried to rationalize his blindness rather than restore his sight. This is a purely human reaction to a natural problem and what keeps us from the supernatural every single day. If we can figure it out then we can keep God in the neat little box where we put Him. The façade that we have created of who Jesus is cannot be threatened when things don’t turn out as we plan. The blind man was born for such a time as this so that God could once again reveal His Glory to the watching world. Jesus came to be the Light of the World. When He left, the Lord sent us His Spirit to live in us so that we could carry on His Mission as the Light of the World. However, we have such little faith in Christ’s credibility many remain in the darkness of this world detached from the Light of His Amazing Love. God’s Ways are higher than our own as are His Thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) The Gospel is no secret and His Promises are not elusive. We must have faith. Hope must be our vision. John 9:38-41 (NLT) “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?” “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.” Blindness is not a sin problem. The problem is with those who think that they can see but really know nothing at all about what God is doing. Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world but that through Him the world might be saved. The end of spiritual darkness is in the revelation of Jesus Christ. Many times this comes like an onion as our life is peeled back layer by layer. It is a complex process of surrender. The Holy Spirit is on a mission to work our salvation through every facet of our life to the Glory of God which is to our benefit and blessing. Everybody wins. The problem is that too often we set off with a gun half-cocked. We know just enough of the Word to get us in trouble. One verse is no good unless the context is given. You will never know the context of God’s Promises without knowing His Word. It is an instruction book for believers to walking in the Light. It is the lamp we need when covered in darkness. John 9:6-11 (NLT) Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” If you have ever experienced the Lord’s Supernatural Intervention in your life, it will change your testimony forever. How so? I tried for years to tell others about Jesus Christ and to explain the difference that He made in my life to no avail. It all sounded too much like a self-help story of personal discipline and habitual changes. No one believed that tithing changed our finances just hard work and motivation. Everyone thought that our changed lifestyle should be credited with change. It was too easily to rationalize. When our daughter was miraculously and completely healed of asthma, I was completely undone. No longer could I doubt the existence of an All-Powerful, All-Knowing and Everywhere God who loved me and cared about my life. When the Light of God’s Love breaks through the darkness of your desperation, everything changes. You will begin to desire such change to feel Him close. You will begin to expect Him to do something else. Or…you will allow the world to explain it away and step back into darkness and obscurity of society. Well, now we have gone through another season of refinement of our faith with some sorrow and suffering to go with it. The Lord has healed our son of cancer five times. Medicine will tell you that cannot figure it out. The second relapse statistically called for his life to end in less than two years – we have passed the second anniversary and he is alive and well. I don’t know what else to tell you but my God is real. Jesus Christ is alive. He is working in our life. “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” (John 9:25) The simplicity of the Gospel is revealed when our blindness is gone and by faith we see all we must do is believe. Romans 4:16-18 (NLT) So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the Law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe. That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” Do you feel that you are in the dark? Unable to see what the Lord is doing, but you know that He is doing something. It will drive you crazy if you let it and do not properly change your mind, will and emotions. What to do while you wait? The promise is received by faith. After all, isn’t that what we are after that thing that God has dropped in our spirit and the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to our attention. We want it but cannot yet reach it so what now? We do not even know what to pray for at this point. There is nothing that you or I can do to hasten the process or snatch our promise from the Lord’s Hand. Faith is the substance of things hoped for so maybe we should reinforce what we believe focus on living in the Light of His Love demonstrated by serving Him, seeking Him and studying Him to know Him more so when the time comes to respond you will be ready. Abraham believed that God brings the dead back to life and creates new things out of nothing. Do you believe that too? This is another definition of hope. To believe beyond anything rational or visual. When there was no reason to hope – Abraham kept on hoping? Will you? Will I? 2 Peter 1:5-10 (NLT) In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. We must decide to respond to God’s Promises by faith before change comes. We must work diligently to be prepared to do what He tells us to do when He tells us to do it even when it means walking blind. God prepared Saul his whole life to become Paul and lead the way for the Gentile’s Salvation. Even when he was murdering innocent Christians, God had a better plan reserved for him. He spent his whole life studying the Word of God. He purposed though misguided at the time to please God by doing His Will. There are many people today who are modern day Sauls who are about to have a conversion to Paul. Saul believed that he was serving God on the road to Damascus. Crazy that is exactly where ISIS is attacking Christians today. The Lord called on him there and in the brightness of His Glory – Saul became blind. (Acts 9) The moment of change was upon him. If not for blindness, there probably would have been no conversion and likely the encounter brushed off to heatstroke or something of the sort. When God sent Ananias to lay hands on him so that Saul would be filled with the Spirit and become Paul, soon he would be the one pursued, imprisoned and executed for his belief. As you read all of Pau’s writings in the New Testament, his boldness is not that of a normal man for most of it he wrote bound in chains. The Glory of God that overtook him gave Paul a hope that man could not beat out of him and the enemy could not take from him. This is the glorious change that only confident hope fueled by persistent faith that opens our eyes to see past the natural to the supernatural. It gives us the passion to pursue it at all costs. This is the change that I am after. We have a neat list of instructions of what to do while we wait for His Light to show us our next great leap of faith. Do we have the willingness to do it until He comes? Isaiah 48:8-10 (NLT) “Yes, I will tell you of things that are entirely new, things you never heard of before. For I know so well what traitors you are. You have been rebels from birth. Yet for my own sake and for the honor of my name, I will hold back my anger and not wipe you out. I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.” Are you facing your darkest hour? Is the fiery furnace of refinement hotter than it has ever been? Be encouraged today. He is preparing you to be changed into that new thing you have been crying out for. Do not give up and do not give in. The enemy wants to blind you to the New Light about to burst from your life. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) God is about to reveal His Glory in your life. Be ready to respond. The darkest hour is before the dawn. But in the morning is when new mercy and unfailing love come pouring back in! I know it is hard. I know it hurts. But I also know what it feels like for my sorrow to be turned to joy and tears to laughter as His Light floods my life again. Friend, it’s worth it. Every single time – it has been worth it all! Lamentations 3:20-24 (NLT) I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”