Long Nights – a Devotion

Long Nights

Isaiah 59:9-12 (NLT)

So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead. We growl like hungry bears; we moan like mournful doves. We look for justice, but it never comes. We look for rescue, but it is far away from us. For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are.

 

From time to time, our youngest child struggles with a fear of the dark. She tells me that sometimes at night her brain will not turn off. For some reason, this makes the night a long, lonely and scary place for her. Anxiety overtakes her as the sun seems like it will not come back up. We leave lights on in the house for her but in the darkness of night they offer little solace or peace. She wants the sun to come up along with all the people. It seems to be something that occurs most often if there is a break in her routine or if she is spending the night at someone else’s house. It’s funny how we all are like that from time to time when our routine changes, schedule interrupted or plans change – we become anxious and fearful. The dark represents the unknown. At least in the light, we can see what is coming or what lies ahead. Darkness is a place of vulnerability. To help our daughter, we leave lights on throughout the house from her room to our room so she can come to us if she needs us. She used to use them quite often but now as she is maturing – she tries to overcome her anxiety by herself.

I woke up early in the wee hours of this morning with the word “grope” in my mind. I feel as though lately that I am “groping” through darkness looking for His Light. Do you ever feel that way in the middle of your walk with Christ? The feeling that nothing makes sense. You cannot see what lies ahead. You become uncertain about the next step. Will you walk up the mountain or fall face first in a pit? Faith does not always paint a clear picture. The Hope on which we rely is Jesus Christ although I have never seen Him face-to-face. I want the justice that He promises for my life. I am desperately looking for Light in the midst of great darkness. I want bright skies to permeate my life – I am tired of the clouds, wind and rain of these storms. I complain without reason. I moan without real pain. But I have something that those people in the Old Testament do not have called grace. God’s Grace is sufficient for me when I grope. Groping is not a lack of faith but the place that we develop more faith and trust in the Lord. Are you groping along the wall of religion today trying to make it to Jesus? It’s okay. God’s got you. Are you feeling your way to that place called hope? Good, you are on the right track. We have no need to fear the dark times of life, because God is doing something especially in the midst of our weakness.

 

Luke 4:16-21 (NLT)

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”  He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

 

The Promise of a Savior was fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Now all our darkness will be turned to Light with the surrender of our life. Some people were not ready for this to happen for they had become comfortable in religion. They liked things the way that they were. Of course, they did. The Scribes and Pharisees were calling all the shots, making all the money and the ones being worshipped in many cases. It was a pretty good gig. It did not require humility so no one had a problem with it except God. Jesus didn’t come to make us rich. He didn’t promise to eliminate all our problems. He came with something else in mind. We are to be Children of God who live with Him forever. This will take some work. We need a transformation that cannot always be carried out in the Light – otherwise we would mess it up becoming confident in ourselves or chasing other things. The Spirit of the Lord that was on Christ when He read the scriptures from Isaiah is the very same Spirit that lives in you and me. The Light must permeate our heart and illuminate me before it will ever make its way into my life. God sent Jesus to release those held captive by their sins. He was to make the blind see. He was to set free the oppressed and give us His Father’s Favor. Jesus did His Part. Now we must do ours…

Revelation 3:15-17 (NLT)

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

 

We live in the age of the lukewarm church. I am not condemning organized religion but a fellowship that lacks passion for Jesus Christ. He came to set the world on fire – wishing it was already ablaze. We respond initially with fervency but somewhere along the way lose steam. Our passion for Christ becomes complacent. We allow darkness to seep through the cracks until it finds a place in us. Jesus knows our hearts and minds. He is well aware of attitudes and actions. He knows all the things you do. There are times and seasons when we take on a lackadaisical approach to life. We follow the Ten Commandments but choose to ignore the one commandment of Christ – to love others laying our own life down for them. We just don’t have much interest, zeal or real passion when it comes to our relationship with Christ. This is not how God intended it to be. This is not what Jesus is after.

Isaiah 29:17-19 (NLT)

Soon—and it will not be very long—the forests of Lebanon will become a fertile field, and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops. In that day the deaf will hear words read from a book, and the blind will see through the gloom and darkness. The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

 

I believe that for me 2015 will be the year our darkness is turned into light. All the things that have happened that do not makes since will begin to fall into place as His Goodness that He promised reaches us. It has been a long haul. I am groping through the darkness secure in my faith and intent on finding hope. I have not given up just become a bit blinded by gloom and darkness. These past few years have been humbling as the frailty and brevity of this life apparent, as well as the awesome power and unfailing love of God for my family and I.  God is telling us today that we will see things through the Light of His Love and the seeds of righteousness planted in the storm will begin to prosper in our life. I am ready. I am intent on having the Promises of God for my life. I will not give up even on those days that I am just groping along.

Matthew 9:27-29 (NLT)

 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”

One miracle can change our life forever. Just one encounter with God that can only be attributed to His Presence will keep us chasing after Him. Even when the night seems long and there is no apparent end to the darkness, we know that there is Light and strive to find it. We are called to demonstrate His Righteousness. I cannot do that until I experience His Glory and His Hope fills my heart and life. Otherwise, I have nothing to offer this dying world. His Salvation is working its way through illuminating all the dark spots in my life so they will prosper in His Love. I must be patient. I must not doubt. But even God’s Best and Finest had moments of uncertainty, even John the Baptist in a cold, dark cell. (Matthew 11:4-6) Everyone begins to question what they know and believe in dark times. Saul was blinded by the Light of God’s Love. God wanted to give him a new name, a new life, a new mission that could not be accomplished unless he lived in darkness for a while. (Acts 9:3-9) But look at what Paul went on to do for Jesus Christ after three days of blindness. The possibilities are endless.

Isaiah 35:5-8 (NLT)

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. The parched ground will become a pool, and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land. Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish where desert jackals once lived. And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-minded people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.

Humility is found in the dark times of life. But that’s not all. When struck with blindness, it is scientifically proven that our other senses become stronger. There are times when you will be led into the darkness by the Lord so that you will be able to see again. Faith comes by hearing. It is not perceived by our eyes or hands but by our heart. If we can see, feel and touch what God is doing – faith is not required. We cannot please God without faith. We cannot connect with Him outside of faith and confident hope that can trust Him even when we do not see what He is going but are willing to stay on course anyway. Our spiritual eyes will never be opened if there is no darkness. Otherwise, how will we know the difference between darkness and light? But once we experience the full potential of God’s Love and Goodness that is His Light just once, we are hooked. We will walk as long as it takes, as far as we must, and no matter what challenges we face to have it in our life. Passion is found in the dark. Patience is developed there as well. Persistence is a quality of the righteous who have made it from the darkness to the Light and will do it again to see His Glory. Are you afraid of the dark? Don’t be – God is with you. Like the pathway of light we make for our daughter to help her through the darkness, our Heavenly Father is doing the same for you. He is leading us to full restoration. We are set to inherit and live according to His Glorious Standard that was once forfeited to sin. Now we are alive. So if you must grope through the darkness, so be it. It is worth finding the Light of His Love and living in it. He fully restores those who do. (Isaiah 35) Ask the Lord to open your eyes to His Plan. Ask Him to speak to your heart more faith. You have everything you need to prosper – just wait for His Light to come!

Psalm 30:1-5 (NLT)

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

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