Bible teacher F. B. Meyer once observed, “The night is the time to see the stars.” It is in our darkest moments that we realize we need Him the most.
I was alone with my wife in a foreign country. On the advice from a renowned oncologist, we travelled to an American cancer clinic in Mexico. She was dying – a fact that I had refused to acknowledge. Surely God would answer my prayers and heal my wife, rid her of the cursed cancer that was ravaging her body. I knew that everything would turn out alright, regardless of the doctor’s warning that tonight would determine if she were to live or die.
“If she makes it through the night, her chances for survival are good.” By morning’s light, she was gone.
Thus began the darkest days of my life.
I had been in denial, thinking that I was trusting God for her deliverance. But in reality, I refused to face the fact that my wife was dying a little more each day. This was my first personal encounter with death, and quite frankly, I didn’t know how to face it. So in my ignorance, I was doing the only thing I had been taught to do – pray and believe that God would answer my prayer. But my “believing” became nothing more than burying my head in the sand.
During this time, I was facing spiritual attacks that had shaken my faith to the core. Within a short period of time, we had to endure several difficult situations: the break-up of our church family; a cancer diagnosis that gave little hope for survival; a move to relocate across the country; continual medical appointments, hospitalizations, and procedures, and because my wife needed constant care, the loss of my job. And the coup de grâce was when the family who had convinced us to move in with them asked us to leave… because they didn’t want my wife to die in their home. My “friend” gave me enough money to get a hotel room for one night and dropped us off at the Motel 6. We were broke, and broken-hearted – and it only got worse. But I will spare you those details.
I realize that I am not the only person to have experienced such trials. I am divulging this, not to get your sympathy, but to share my victory. I was confronted with a choice after my wife died. I was in a place of need; alone and grief-stricken, my world turned upside down – I was vulnerable, and my adversary knew it. He put forth a relentless attack to steal, kill, and destroy my life. The saving grace was the Word of God that I had hidden in my heart and the relationship I had built with my Savior.
In my trial, I was weak, but He strengthened me with might through His Spirit in the inner man. I cleaved to the Word of God – it was all that I had. Throughout the previous decade, God was teaching me and preparing me to face such a time as this. I had experienced His love at a heart level. Had I not experienced his love, I would have never endured and overcome the temptations to meet my own needs in ungodly ways. Our God is faithful!
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the Wicked One.– 2 Thessalonians 3:3
God’s Word was my sanctuary, my safe place, and as the Word describes it, my hiding place. His Word instilled life and hope into my spirit, and I came through that fire stronger in trust and with a greater awareness of my union in Christ.
If your Torah had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for with them you have revived me.– Psalms 119:92-93
Time alone with God to listen, study, and meditate on His Word is the lifeline for the follower of Jesus. Time alone with Him will build a heart-level relationship that will enable you to endure the fiery trials in life. I sit at His feet in our morning times and receive more than I realize. He imparts strength into my soul at these times. And it’s not just for me, but for others that may be in dark places. When we go through trials and emerge victorious, it is not only for our benefit, but for others as well.
God made an investment in our lives, paid for with the life of His son. We can do no less than invest our lives in this relationship so that we may continue to hear His voice and sustain the weary ones around us.