“Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:8,9).

WE MUST PASS THROUGH DREADFUL DARKNESS BEFORE WE ARE ABLE TO ENJOY WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT. So Saul had to confront the reality of being without God and without hope before he was ready to have his sins washed away (Acts 22:16).

It is through seasons of hunger that God teaches us to relish the feast He has for us. Moses reminded Israel of this when he reviewed the difficult days of their wilderness wandering: “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). However, few in Israel learned the lessons their hunger might have taught them, and we err in just the same way when God withdraws His presence from us and we think no higher thoughts than those of complaint and self-pity.

Darkness is scary. But those who never leave the false light of self-sufficiency doom themselves to a darkness that only grows more dark as eternity stretches on. It is only to those who have learned what reverence means that God says, “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2).

A deepened sense of our own sin is not a thing to be regretted, even though it is attended by terrible pain. The gospel means little to so many because so few have passed through any dark night of the soul that would enable them to appreciate the light. So few love God because so few have any depth of gratitude for forgiveness, and this is simply because they have never known what it is like to desperately desire deliverance. Night is, after all, that which should guide us toward the daylight, and for this night — this awful, blessed night — we should give humble thanks.

In that happy night, in secret, seen of none, seeing nought myself, without other light or guide save that which in my heart was burning. That light guided me more surely than the noonday sun to the place where He was waiting for me . . .

O, guiding night;
O, night more lovely than the dawn . . .
(John of the Cross)

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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