Wednesday, June 8, 2011

In Answer To The Darkness

If you are a living breathing human being you know what it feels like to be lonely. For most of us it is a terrible experience and one we hope to avoid in the future. I doubt many of us were actually alone but more like we "felt" alone because we isolated ourselves from others. Circumstances and bad experiences do that to us. Stress in these circumstances do it to us as well, causing us to withdraw from people emotionally if not physically. We rush into that inner place, lock the door, close the curtains and crawl into bed to die. It is a terrible place to be.

The good news is that we are never alone. We may close ourselves off from people but Jesus never lets go of us. One of the great blessings we have in this relationship is that no matter where we go physically, emotionally or mentally Jesus is always there with us. The psalmist of Psalm 139 knew this experience:

Where can I go from your Spirit? 
   Where can I flee from your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
   if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, 
   your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)

Emotionally we draw a blanket of darkness over ourselves, allowing depression to consume us, cutting everybody and every joy out of our life, always pushing people and things away. All the joy is sucked out of us and we lose interest in everything. Even in that darkness Jesus is with us:

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me 
   and the light become night around me,” 
even the darkness will not be dark to you; 
   the night will shine like the day, 
   for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)

God's presence is the one promise that he gave to be a constant encouragement to us, a promise no one could take away. So many times in the Word we read these encouraging words:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

But we have a promise even greater than what God gave to his prophets, kings and generals. We have a greater promise than that he will be with us. Jesus told us he would abide in us. Not "with" us as in the system of the past, but "in" us where we so often retreat from people. He is right there at the center of us so that we can't shut him out. He is in this for the good and bad days and he is in it for the long haul.

It's not just Jesus dwelling in us but he has a purpose for doing so. He is in us so that he can keep revealing the Father's love to us and reminding us that this love is real even in the dark times:

I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. (John 17:26)

We have this dumb image that every time we sin God runs away. Hardly! Jesus is in this long term with us, holding us together, helping us see our wrongs, forgiving us and building us back up, constantly promoting the best in us, breathing life and health into us, desiring to see us overcome all things, wanting and helping us become our best. He isn't afraid of a messy life. He is the one who reached out to the filthy blind beggars and touched the lepers and embraced the prostitutes. He fully embraced sin so that he could destroy its hold over us and now he has taken up residence in us to insure our victory and to get us across the finish line.

Jesus is amazing and he is the best friend that you will ever have because he is guaranteed to always be there. In the loneliest and darkest moments of your life he is there, embracing and comforting you. He lends us strength when we feel we can go no further. He is our hope when all other hope has run away. He is our shield against the arrows that are directed at us when we are too low to defend ourselves. Remember the promises of the Word:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deut. 31:6)

This promise is repeated in the New Testament and we are told how we should respond to such an incredible thing:

God has said,
   “Never will I leave you;
   never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence,
   “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
   What can man do to me?”
(Hebrews 13:5-6)

So my friends, what a confidence is ours as we move through this day. God is more than "with" us, he is in us and he will never leave or forsake us. He is our strength, our shield, our hope and the light we need even when everything else goes dark.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)

To God be the glory!


Pruthvi said...

What about all the people in other countries who dont believe in Jesus but believe in their own gods? Will they go to hell even if they are not sinners and always helped others? Will Jesus look after them ?? Who will help them?

Pastor Paul said...

There is no one without sin. Each of us will be judged according to what we received and what we did with it. Jesus made it very clear that there is only one way to the Father and it is through his sacrifice on the cross. This is why we are so desperately trying to tell the world about Jesus. God's Word says:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-20)