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"Learning How To Sleep In The Dark"


"I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search."

Psalm 77:6 (NKJV)

Most of us can relate to what the psalmist must have felt like in Psalm 77. No one likes being in the dark, especially when it comes to understanding why God is allowing you to go through some trial, a test or experience that seems contrary to what you have come to know about the ways of God.

Like most children I was afraid of the dark growing up. For some reason my parents didn't put a night light in the bedroom I shared with my younger brother so they would leave the door slightly ajar so we could see that the hall light was on. It provided just enough light so our bedroom wasn't "pitch dark" as my dad would say. I distinct-fully recall not being able to fall asleep if the light was off. I can remember getting up in the middle of the night and turning the light back on after my parents turned it off when they went to bed. Oh don't we wish it was that easy when it comes to being in the dark regarding the ways of the Lord.

To teach me how to sleep in the dark my mom would often times sit on the edge of my bed and usually she would rub my back until I fell asleep. I learned over a period of time that even though the room was dark my mom was either right there by my side or she was very close by in the next room, no more than a scream away when I would wake up to find the door closed and no hall light on. And if for some reason my mom didn't come to my room I would make my way to her, for I knew exactly where I could find her.

What was true for me wasn't true for Asaph in Psalm 77. Unsure of God's ways in that God would allow the Babylonians to bring God's judgment on Israel when the Babylonians were far and away more wicked than the children of Israel. It just didn't make sense to Asaph any more than it did to Habakkuk who asked the same question. Being in the dark to the ways of God can leave us stressed to the max.

In the first four verses of psalm 77 Asaph is completely stressed out, so much so he cant sleep. He feels abandoned by God. Asaph has always known God to be very gracious to Israel but now it appears as if God doesn't care, that He has cast Israel off and His mercies have come to an end. Have you ever gone through a trial where you felt that way? Life is going but nothing is going the way you thought it would, not the way you hoped and planned things would be and your world is shaken. You feel all alone and in the dark. If you have ever felt like that know you are in good company. Every child of God will experience a test of faith at some point in our relationship with God. And for two very important reasons.

First and foremost God is teaching His children, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9. God's ways are not always going to make sense to us, nor should they. "If God were small enough to be understood He would not be big enough to be worshipped" the saying goes. Once we come to terms with the fact that much of what the Lord does is not going to make sense to us we have taken a huge step in the right direction. Romans 11:33-34 captures the point well when the apostle Paul writes, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?"

Second, God is teaching us about and testing our faith by purposely leaving us in the dark so we can learn to trust Him. Two of my favorite verses that come to mind are found in the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 11:1 tells us plainly, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" and verse 6 goes on to say, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." I learned to sleep in the dark as a child when I came to understand that though I couldn't see my mom in the darkness I knew she was there or close by and to prove it sometimes I would get up and go to my dad and moms bedroom and stand next to their bed just to make sure she was there and then I could go back to bed and go to sleep. You could say I found her when I sought her.

Unlike me being able to see my mom, as children of God we cant physically see Him but by faith in His faithfulness, we know He is there. In Psalm 77 Asaph learns to apply in the dark what he learned in the light. Though our situation seems hopeless and our circumstances make us feel helpless faith causes us to turn our focus from the size of our problem to the size of our God. What did Asaph do and where did he go to learn these truths and experience God's peace?

Before Asaph answers that question let me ask you, loved one, where do you go when the darkness surrounds you and this old world starts getting you down? I'm reminded of a hit song by singer and song writer James Taylor titled, "Up On The Roof" which contained the lyrics,

"When this old world starts a getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I'll climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space
On the roof, it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below don't bother me, no, no"

Yes friend, the world offers us a myriad of places to go to find temporal peace but nothing comparable to the peace of God that is ours when we leave the world behind and seek shelter in the sanctuary of the Lord. Psalm 77:13-15 makes a clear distinction from the pathways of the world when Asaph writes, "Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah." We can find light in the midst of our darkness as we come into the sanctuary of God. Its there we come to know what Asaph came to know and what Charles Spurgeon so eloquently expressed when he penned these words, "God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart."

Yes, loved one, "when you cannot trace His hand, trust His heart" knowing…

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Jeremiah 29:11


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