By Jaasiah Altman
This blog post was adapted from Jaasiah's message on 10/9/2022. You can listen to Jaasiah's entire talk right here.
Were you afraid of the dark as a kid?
Are you still?
As a kid, I was terrified of scary masks and haunted houses. I can remember plain as day how dark it was in the first haunted house I ever went to. At 7 years old, I remember holding on to my mom for dear life when we went in.
As I was walking through, I tried my hardest to anticipate when the next jump scare coming. I got so scared at one point, I almost hit the actor in the face. I grew up in the hood you can’t just be jumping out around corners like that. After that time, I started to just let my mom lead me around every dark corner. When we finally got to the end, I could see these light of the exit. But then there was some creepy old lady waiting at the end of the tunnel. So I turned back wanting to go back the way I came. But, my mom gave me a look and at that point I knew that I had to go through that tunnel. Let me tell you, I ran all the way through.
I was in the dark that day, but that wasn’t the only day I was in the dark.
⁃ There have been Christmases without presents
⁃ There was my high school graduation without my dad
⁃ There was spending a week in jail.
⁃ You have been looking forward to leftovers all day, only to find out that that one plate was eaten.
⁃ Your dark situation is financial. You are living paycheck to paycheck, rent is due soon, but you also have to pay the car bill.
⁃ Maybe someone cheated on you.
⁃ Maybe you lost a close one, unexpectedly.
Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the dark. When we aren’t sure what to do and the future is the uncertain. We feel alone, scared, and exhausted.
The darkness can create a victim mindset loop — we start to ask, why is this happening to me? God, why are you putting me through this? It pushes us away from God, which makes the trials worse, because we are suffering without him. Instead, we need to allow our pain to draw us closer to him.
Right now, I encourage you to sow down and explore what faith offers us when we are in the dark. I hope to convince you that God is good even when life is not.
1. Faith Produces Character
James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing."
That's a hard verse to hear when you're in the dark. Great joy? Really?
But think about this: You are learning so much more in your pain than in your pleasure.
For me, God has been teaching me to trust him when I can't control everything.
We learn through hard times. We learn that anger can protect you from getting hurt again. We learn that regret keeps you from making the same mistake again.
There is purpose in your pain.
You aren’t being buried, you are being planted. (Christine Caine)
You aren’t being punished, you are being prepared.
2. Faith Offers Comfort
Faith offers comfort because the object of our faith is God and he is always there.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Even in the dark, God is still there. When we can’t see, he is our eyes. But, you’ve got to know, we aren’t hoping in Santa or some app. We are hoping in the eternal God, Yahweh, our Lord and Father.
He will be there for you when your in the dark, just like he was there for others.
⁃ He got the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt
⁃ He helped David face his Goliath
⁃ He helped Esther save the Jews
⁃ He helped Habakuk with the Babylonians
When we remind ourselves of what He has done in the past, we can rest in the present and have hope for the future. You can have faith in God, who is consistently there for his people, that offers comfort.
I like to think of it like this: Every time my wife, Amanda goes shopping with her mom, her mom is going to pay for her food. Amanda knows this so she doesn't bring her wallet. She has every confidence that her mom will cover the bill. In the same way, every time God’s children need him, he’s there to save and help and provide and lift up and strengthen. If Amanda can find comfort in her mom to pay for new baby clothes, then how much more should we find comfort in God who is never changing.
He is the God who is saying to you: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jer. 29:11)
This hope is our anchor.
In Hebrews 6:19, it says We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Something to know about anchors. They don't pull you out of the storm but they do hold you steady in it. When you most need them they're hidden. You don't see them when they're in the water, protecting you. Remember God is your anchor. Let God give you peace.
This Peace doesn’t mean you won’t have problems, but that your problems won’t have you.
When I was at the end of that haunted house and I didn't want to go through that hallway. You know who was there, holding my hand? My mom and her assuring look is what got me to get out of that darkness and into the light.
Two things that have gotten me to where I am today: people (like my mom) and honest prayer.
Be honest like Habakuk — who went through….
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior. — Habakuk 3:17-18
Turn your pressure into praise; your weakness into worship — release pain and give it to God. There is a release when we praise.
Pray this prayer today:
"God, I don’t understand what is going on. But, I accept that somehow, you are in control."
*Edited for the blog by Hannah Brzozowski