The Darker the Night...

04/09/2014 12:11
The day began well. I woke up with a bright smile on my face; a smile that was worth keeping. You see, I’d spent several months clambering out of a tough season; like wending my way out of an unexectedly difficult maze in a deep dark forest. That morning, it finally felt as if the sun was bursting through the dense foliage. I’d discovered in glad surprise that my joy was back in full force once more. I must be getting back to base, I thought to myself. Yes, I was definitely on my way up. Life was good.
But then, as it happens – I stumbled on an unexpected thorny patch at the edge of the forest. That afternoon I read something which caused my heart to turn an uncultivated summersault. I’d been misrepresented by someone I expected better. It caught me by surprise. The scab of my healing wound split open and my pain re-surfaced. My wound felt  raw. Bleeding. Intensely painful.  
I cried. Then I did what I usually do when hurt. I shared my feelings with a trustworthy friend. I poured out my heart in an email. It helped me to write it. I hoped it would hasten my recovery. But … a little later I began to feel ashamed. What would my friend think of me? Was I right to have written as I had done? What was God’s take on it? You see, just that morning during my daily Quiet Time,  I’d studied all about “Jehovah Rapha”.
Who’s “Jehovah Rapha” you may ask. “Jehovah Rapha” is "God my Healer". The Author of a book I’d studied said at the end of her study: ‘The next time you need healing, run to Jehovah Rapha”. What wonderful advice. I had the perfect opportunity to grab hold of it that day. But sad to say, it wasn’t what I had done. Rather than run to Jehovah Rapha I’d run to a friend. I should have done it the other way around. First run to Jehovah Rapha. Then turned to my friend for help if I still needed it.
I wasn’t proud of myself. I repented. I told God I was sorry. I wrote to my friend and apologised in case I’d said too much. My heart felt heavy and sad. A few hours later I went off on my evening walk. It was one of my favourite times each day. Dusk fell around me; birds chattered as they flew to their nests. A few faint stars twinkled a friendly greeting as I turned into our Oval. And then I spotted it. There it shone – rather faintly at first – my Father’s smile.
A few years ago God had spoken clearly to me through the crescent moon. Since then, seeing it is akin to hearing from Him. It’s as if my Father God is smiling down upon me. With love. With approval. With joy. On His child. I looked up, my heart beating a bit faster and and a bit gladder. There it was – His beautiful smile. I smiled back, my heart bursting with gratitude. ‘Thank you Lord” I whispered. ‘Thank you so much’. Yes, He always smiles at me even after I’ve sinned. Even after I've disappointed Him. His love never changes.
That first round, His smile was very faint; a light curve in a cloudy sky. But during the next lap it got a wee bit brighter. My heart warmed as I looked up. The third lap it became brighter still. And in my final lap it was the brightest of all. It was then that His truth was strongly impressed upon me. The Darker the night, the brighter God’s smile.

Yes. The Darker the night the Brighter His smile.


CS Lewis expressed a similar truth very well. “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” It’s been my experience too. I've heard Him most clearly during my painful seasons. I've drawn closest to Him when my heart has been broken. Yes, God has often used pain to get my attention.
But that’s not all. The more pain I experience in my life, the more real God’s love has been around me – a warm cape thrown over me during a cold cold winter. Like the light of a million stars that shimmer and dance on a deep dark night. Like a life-giving cup of cold water guzzled by a fatigued lifeless desert wanderer. 

The deeper the night, the deeper His smile.

I wonder what kind of season you are ploughing through. Is the darkness closing in? Do you wonder where God is? Let me remind you today. The more difficult the journey – the more you can lean on Him. The darker it gets – the closer He is. The tougher the circumstance - the greater the victory.
So don’t give up. Look up into the face of Jesus. He sees. He knows. He cares.

In Him you will find all you need.

“Fear not, I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. when you walk through the fire you will, not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Since you are precious and honoured in my sight and because I love you.” Isaiah 43:1,2,4