Darkness before the Dawn

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

  • Romans 13:11-14

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

  • Romans 8:28

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.”

  • Thomas Fuller, A Pisgah Sight of Palestine and Confines thereof

I used a quote from an A. W. Tozer book in the study on 1 John 4 a week ago.  It talks about a mother’s love and how a child will not be afraid of the mother.  I have already written about how I was afraid of my mother, and I would not have preferred to go to her if lost in a department store, but too afraid to ever get lost in the first place.  But that one paragraph said something that is possibly misinterpreted.  It says that the mother, as a metaphor for God, means no harm to the child.

It is true when that same paragraph from the Tozer quote speaks of wanting good for the child, but that brings Romans 8:28 into the picture.  Something may be highly unpleasant, but in the long run, we grow from the experience.  We might not ever consider it “good,” but we learned from it.

Punishment and correction may not be pleasant, but they are necessary for the parent to discipline and guide the child away from harmful things and toward better things, regardless of the methodology.

In my darkest of times, I found Jesus.

I can think of a couple of really bad times in my life.  The year between being convicted of my sins and my final acceptance of Jesus into my life was, for lack of anything better to describe it, hell.  A friend asked me how I could square predestination with free will.  I told him that God had such a grip on me for that year, that if I had not accepted Jesus as my Savior, I would have gone insane.  When I finally gave in all that I had unconsciously held in reserve, my backdoor escape clause, if you will…  It was then all or nothing, and that was what God wanted.  I had free will to reject God, but it was, in my state of mind at the time, not a viable option spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically.  I was physically spent as a result of the battle between good and evil within the church choir boy that I was.  If God had not pulled me through, it would have caused irreparable harm.

In my darkest of times, I found Jesus.

The times that I was out of work due to 1) a site closure, 2) the company losing its contract at a remote location, and 3) essentially a new ownership take-over (took a few years, but they purged almost every former employee).  With the first, I was out of work for an entire year, exactly to the day.  I became weary, but I knew God was in control.  With the second, it only took four months to find a job, a job that last lasted nearly 20 years – and still under contract if they need me.  With that last layoff, however, I was too old to get another job, regardless of the laws that protect against age discrimination.

But the last layoff was too much.  I wrote a book about God’s blessings versus earthly blessings.  But God kept nudging me to write a blog instead of pursuing a book deal.  “Give it away” was the message.  But going into retirement and writing fulltime became a move that I never thought could happen or would have the results that it did.

In studying the Bible and reading multiple devotions each day for inspiration, God started talking.  And as the days went by, the relationship between me and God grew, and I had been a Christian for 40+ years at the time.  I thought I had a good relationship, but it was nothing like what God wanted me to have.

And how did I get there?  Through a very harmful layoff in my 60s (age).

In my darkest of times, I found Jesus.

All of this is just set-up for the main topic.  Should you pray for God to allow someone that you love to be put through the tough, painful times of life, because the results could be the best thing that ever happened to them?

Sometimes we need that kick in the pants to overcome inertia, laziness, or our own stubbornness.  Stubborn in that we get ourselves into that rut of life that seems to have no exit, until something catastrophic happens and we have no other choice than to dig our way out of the rut.

Is it okay to wish a loved one to be taken to that desperation moment where it is God or nothing?

That might cause unimaginable harm if they do not choose God at that moment.

Maybe it is accepting Jesus into their lives.  Maybe it is a career change.  Maybe it is a financial rut.  We all have loved ones that do not wish to hear advice.  Even when they ask for the advice, they get distracted while you are still talking, or they tell you that you aren’t advising them the way they wished.

Can we ask God for such things?  When we ask God to bring our loved ones to a saving knowledge of Jesus, we are doing that, in a way.  Part of the process is for them to have a conviction that they are a sinner, and they need something, hopefully they follow your lead in finding God.

In my darkest of times, I found Jesus.

But the process hurts.  And for that move to grow as a Christian in a major way, as I did upon retirement, that can be very painful also.  But looking back, becoming a Christian is the greatest moment and biggest change in my life.  And finding a daily communication with God in a very real manner has changed my walk with God by several orders of magnitude.  For you non-engineers, if my life was at a level 10, it is now at a level 1,000 or 100,000.  You can add another zero to the end for any more orders of magnitude.

But the process hurts.

God promises that if we do not have the right words to say, the Holy Spirit will use whatever groanings necessary to share with God what we meant to say.  So, I am going to press that button, and ask God to strengthen His kingdom within those people I am thinking of – even if it hurts, because it does not hurt for long, and the benefit can never be measured.  After all, our God is infinite.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

2 Comments

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  1. This is a powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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