Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Ministry of Darkness ~ Part 2

We've looked at the ministry of darkness and how there will be times in our lives when we are walking with Jesus, trusting Him, actively worshipping and loving Him with all of our hearts when all of a sudden without any warning the lights go out. This spiritual eclipse takes place and darkness surrounds us and overtakes us. God has removed light from our life and we wonder what is going on.

God has a purpose.
Have you ever gotten serious with God, your prayers began to get answered, you hear the voice of God clearly, and it seems all is well in the world? Intimacy with God is wonderful, your zeal for God is growing, and you sense Him like never before? You have that feeling of 'Yea, THIS is so cool'! Then one day you wake up and darkness surrounds you and dryness and emptiness is all you can feel. You don't see God, you don't hear God, and for some weird reason there is this tidal wave of doubt in that if for a moment or two you are not even sure God is even real. Been there and done that! If we are honest, we all have doubted. It is simply par for the course in the life of fallen man who has trusted Christ. It just happens. Not because we are not really saved or we have lost salvation, but because we are flawed and messed up. Even though we are saved, we still possess the 'sin gene'. Not only do we have the propensity to sin, we are going to sin and at times struggle in our very own faith in God. Just because I am saved does not assure that I will be exempt from struggles in matters of faith. I believe the opposite. I will struggle in the area of faith because I am saved. Face it, it's just not normal to trust someone we have never seen. We will go through things and be faced with situations and decisions that will test us and challenge us and it will be in some of these times that we will doubt, even doubt that God exists. Jesus never said it was going to be easy! As a matter of fact, nowhere in Scripture do we find that it will be easy. On the contrary Scripture proves it over and over that it’s going to be hard and difficult and at times overwhelming, especially when we experience dark dry spells.

NOTICE DANIEL – In Daniel 10:8 we can see that Daniel was exhausted! He hit the wall! He had no strength left in him. Daniel was God’s man, a man of strength, a man of spiritual power and stamina. Not long after he had seen great visions from God he experienced a spiritual eclipse! Daniel found himself physically and emotionally exhausted! Ever been there? Verse 9 says that Daniel was so physically weak that he passed out. I’m convinced that many Christians are tired and exhausted because they are just too busy, yes too busy doing church stuff, going through man-made motions, and doing 'busy' stuff that they don’t have time for God. This wasn’t the case with Daniel, no indeed! Daniel was exhausted for He had been with God! He had spent time not in a deacon's meeting, not in a business meeting, not in a Sunday School class; he spent with God! I must wonder, who of us today have exhausted himself in fellowship with the Living God? Have we ever? Hmmm...

REMEMBER DAVID? – David, a man after God’s own heart. Killed Goliath when he was only a teenager! He later became a mighty warrior for God and ultimately the king of God’s people. Went from mountain top experiences with God to another! Experiencing victory after victory, blessing after blessing. Anointed with God’s power and authority to overcome and defeat all enemies and enjoy fellowship with God Himself and yet experienced times when he penned the words “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I have no rest.” My God can't we feel David's emptiness? His despair? His helplessness? It is obvious from just this one verse found in the Psalms that David experienced soul darkness! He felt as if God had abandoned him, had left him all alone and hopeless. Wow! God's great and mighty warrior, God's man, His #1 man went down! I think because we are so familiar with this story that we strip it of much of its meaning. David was broken and greatly depressed here. Here is this warrior who had stood up to a Philistine army, killed thousands, and commanded the strongest army in the world crying to God. Wow! I know that sure makes me feel better right off. His pleading was; "WHERE ARE YOU LORD? HEY! REMEMBER ME???" David couldn't find God anywhere! Darkness had surrounded him! He found himself in a dark pit looking for God!

HOW ABOUT JESUS ? Remember the darkness He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane? In His darkest hour on the cross Jesus Christ Himself cried out to the Father the exact words David voiced; "My God, My God why have you forsaken me?" Talk about make you think! Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, experiencing soul darkness! Wow!

(I have to say it's when I read these stories that wonder about those Christians who seem to always have it together and never have such problems. I really wonder!)

But still I ask why? Many ask WHY??? Why must we experience soul darkness? Is there a purpose or something? You bet there is! Notice ...

ENGLISH PREACHER T. AUSTIN SPARKS experienced soul darkness after mountain top experiences with God. He said; “in order to go on to further stages of truth to further revelation, something has to happen to us. We go through new experiences of death, desolation, emptiness, hopelessness, in order to come into something further on and deeper in divine revelation. We thought we had come into the fullness of God’s thoughts. We thought we were really growing, seeing. Then everything is as though it is nothing… “My experience is that it is through such a history with God – a history of repeated desolation and emptiness, after wonderful unveilings and revelations – you are brought up out of that dry place again into something further on, greater revelations. And your vision is enlarged…”

Fellow Saints (Sinners who have been saved!) LISTEN UP AND LISTEN CLOSELY! IF you are seeking to follow the living God, I mean you are in this thing for the long haul, you WILL experience soul darkness! You WILL have dry spells! You WILL struggle in painful ways! Let me be clear ... SOUL DARKNESS is part of the journey! You’re not losing ground in these times! It's part of the Lord’s plan. Just press on and KNOW BY FAITH that God is with you! Keep on keepin' on and you will move toward higher ground, experience greater victories, and receive new revelation from God! Hang on brothers! Hang on sisters! God is preparing you for something GREATER! BIGGER! GRANDER!

Remember! IN the darkness, God IS WITH YOU! After Daniels time of darkness it says in Daniel 10:18; "Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me". There is a promise in this. Afterwards GOD WILL TOUCH YOU! We don't know how long the darkness is going to last, but once it has completed what God wants it to accomplish God will touch you!

SO ... Hang tough!!! Stay faithful! Don’t lose heart! STAY WITH GOD!

In the words of Paul in Galatians 6:9; Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Don't give in, give up, or give out!