“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” — Psalm 18:28
A strange, and somewhat funny, thing happened at a recent WTA event. Two female tennis players were battling it out for a spot in the next round. The match was locked at a set apiece, and one player was serving for the match at 5-2 in the final set. On match point, after her first serve was called out, she got another ball and was preparing her second serve — when to everyone’s surprise, the lights in the stadium unexpectedly turned off. The place was pitch black. Thankfully, it only lasted a short time before the lights were flipped back on, but the suddenness of the mini-blackout had definitely thrown off the serving player, and she ended up losing that game.
What do you do when the lights go out? We each have seasons and moments in our lives when it feels as though we’ve been left in the pitch-black. Unanticipated change can throw us into a tailspin and leave us fearful, anxious, depressed, sad, angry, and asking the questions humanity has vocalized for thousands of years: “Where are You, God? Why did this happen? Why me/us? What am I supposed to do? How do I respond to this?”
The darkness comes upon us in varied and powerful ways. Sometimes for only a brief spell as in the case of the tennis match, other times for lengthy stretches that test our faith and internal resolve. As with anything, we get to choose our responses, and whether or not the situation will get the better of us.
Brain research shows that the calmer you can be in times of stress, the more clarity you will have, and the parts of your brain that enable you to get in touch with your spiritual side will activate. The moment you allow panic to set in, your logic and concentration will be compromised and stress chemicals will begin to cascade through your body, affecting your temperament and your decision-making.
In order to make your way through the dark times, you need to be clear-minded so you can sense God’s presence and know the next right thing. Managing your emotions and intentionally setting your mind on the Truth is key, regardless of what your feelings or perceptions are telling you.
God assures us throughout Scripture that we never walk through dark times alone (Psalm 18:28, 23:4, 107:13-14). This is a comfort that no matter how penetrating and powerful the darkness may feel, God is sovereign over it and always in the midst of it. As we trust Him, we can refocus on what’s next instead of letting the circumstances overpower us. We need to tap into the promises of God and strengthen our faith so that we don’t give way to our fears in the dark. The greatest promise we can cling to? Jesus Himself. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life'” (John 8:12).
We must anticipate the darkness, but we don’t need to fear it. We can successfully navigate the dark because of the hope we have in Jesus, knowing that at all times, any darkness is as light to Him (Psalm 139:12). When darkness threatens to overwhelm, just remember the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and ultimate victory: Darkness settled in as He hung on a cross for our sins, but three days later Jesus overcame death and shattered the darkness. He is the Light of this world!
— Katherine Singer
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