There is a journey we sometimes take which is off the path we think we are supposed to be on. It takes us on twists and turns through dark places. Each stop along the way is a place of struggle and sometimes we do not think we will ever get through it because it is so dark and the journey is so long. Those dark places may seem as though they are generated from the outside, from our circumstances. They are, however, actually generated in our own hearts and minds. Our internal belief system both generates the darkness and feeds it. In those dark places we see, feel and experience things that others have no idea about. All they can see is what we say and do and how we present ourselves. They may know we are struggling, but they cannot know what is really going on under the surface. Even if we try to explain it, they cannot get a full picture of our inner lives. So, in essence, we are alone in our inner world until we invite the Holy Spirit into that darkness. Some of us have learned to do that fairly quickly. Others are slow to let Him in. And then there are some who forget that He is ready to join us if asked.
I have been on such a journey. I have invited the Holy Spirit in to this place with me. I sense Him there, listening and waiting on me. He is a gentleman. He will not force His will on me. He waits patiently as I struggle. I know I am safe because of His constant presence. The struggle is important. It is a teacher. But sometimes I am more in tune to the struggle than I am to the Holy Spirit. This place of darkness has pitfalls into which I frequently fall. I don’t need to. Over time I have learned that if I call on the Holy Spirit to guide me, I will not fall. But I am stubborn. I want to do it myself. I am independent. I think I am strong and so I do not see my weaknesses until it is too late and I fall into another pothole that I cannot see in the dark.
When am I going to learn that my self determination is not enough to overcome the darkness? I have studied God’s word for many years. In spite of all that knowledge, I cannot seem to overcome my do-it-yourself-ness. The journey is not the problem. Neither is the struggle or the darkness. The problem is my belief in myself.
There is a hymn that I think fits this well. Trust and Obey
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear,
Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do;
Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.
This hymn speaks of the process toward peace. Sometimes it is a matter of will and choice to lay it at the feet of Jesus and let His Spirit minister to our hearts in those places of struggle and darkness. The journey, with submitted hearts, may take us to the dark places in our hearts. But, it also takes us to the Lord who can lift the darkness and lead us into the truth that sets us free.
I pray that this encourages those of you who are struggling.