Blessed in the Dark Places
All of us at some point will go through a dark place—a sickness, a divorce, a loss, a child who breaks our heart. It’s easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and think that’s the end. But God uses the dark places. They’re a part of His divine plan. Think of a seed. As long as a seed remains in the light, it cannot germinate and will never become what it was created to be. The seed must be planted in the soil, in a dark place, so that the potential on the inside will come to life. In the same way, there are seeds of greatness in us—dreams, goals, talents, potential—that will only come to life in a dark place.
Iron Will Enter Your Soul
When you go through a few dark places, it toughens you up. God uses the dark places. There are some lessons you can only learn in the dark places. Quit complaining about what you’re going through, about how unfair it is, about who did you wrong. It may be uncomfortable, you may not like it, but it’s working for your good. You’re getting stronger; it’s developing something in you that you can only get in the dark. You can’t reach your highest potential being in the light all the time. To have no opposition, no problems, and nobody coming against you may sound good, but it will stunt your growth.
We’re praying and believing, but our health isn’t improving. Our finances haven’t turned around. We still haven’t met the right person. We can feel alone, forgotten, as though our situation is never going to change. It’s a night season.
In the dark times, when life feels unfair, you have to remind yourself that God is still in control. Just because you don’t see anything happening doesn’t mean that God is not working. He doesn’t always show you what He’s up to. It’s easy to trust Him when you’re getting good breaks and things are going great. But you have to learn to trust Him in the night seasons when things aren’t going your way and you don’t see anything happening.
Get Ready for Some Wows
You’ve heard the phrase the night shift. It refers to people who work during the night. But think of it another way. In the night, things are going to shift. The Scripture says, “God never sleeps.” He doesn’t just work the night shift, He shifts things in the night.
You may be in a night season, and you may not see how the difficulties you face can work out. Don’t worry—a night shift is coming. The God who works the night shift is going to shift things in your favor. There’s going to be a shift in your health, a shift in your finances, a shift with that addiction. You think you’re going to have it for years. It looks permanent. No, get ready for a night shift.
Things may look permanent in your life—the addiction, the sickness, the panic attacks, the lack and struggle. Thoughts will tell you, You’ll always have to deal with that. Don’t believe those lies. You’re in a night season, which means you’re in perfect position for a night shift.
It’s easy to trust God when things are going our way, we’re getting good breaks, our business is blessed, and our children are healthy. We don’t need much faith when life is good. But what about when things aren’t going our way, our prayers aren’t being answered, the problem isn’t turning around, and we’re not seeing favor? Too often we get discouraged and think, God, why aren’t You doing something?
The problem with conditional trust is that there will always be things we don’t understand, something that’s not happening fast enough, something that doesn’t work out the way we want. The question is, are you mature enough to accept God’s answers even when they’re not what you were hoping for? God is a sovereign God. We’re not going to understand everything that happens. Faith is trusting God when life doesn’t make sense.
There will always be unanswered questions. “Why didn’t my loved one make it?” “Why am I not getting better?” “Why did this person leave?” Some things are not going to make sense. But God wouldn’t have allowed it if He weren’t going to bring good out of it. You may not see it at the time, but God knows what He’s doing. He has your best interest at heart. It’s not random. It’s a part of His plan. Dare to trust Him.
Don’t Waste Your Pain
Pain is a part of life, and it often feels like a dark place. It’s easy to get discouraged and think, God, why did this happen to me? But one of the most important things I’ve learned is not to put a question mark where God has put a period. All of us live through things we don’t understand.
One reason is that we can’t see the big picture for our lives. If you have a jigsaw puzzle, on the front of the box is the picture that shows you what it’s going to look like. Maybe it’s a picture of a sunset overlooking the ocean. As a whole it’s fantastic, so beautiful. But if you take one piece of that puzzle and isolate it, you’ll think, This piece is a mistake. It’s not going to fit anywhere. It’s shaped oddly, and there’s nothing beautiful about it. But the fact is, it has a perfect place. It’s already been fitted, planned, designed. When all the pieces come together, it’s going to fit right in. You just can’t see it now because the other pieces are not in place.
Dropped but Not Forgotten
Sometimes other people’s poor choices have a negative effect on us. Maybe you were raised in an unhealthy environment, and now you’re dealing with the same addictions, same depression, and same anger that surrounded you every day when you were a child. Those things keep getting passed down from generation to generation. Some people were taken advantage of and mistreated; now they deal with shame and guilt, feeling as though they don’t measure up. It wasn’t their fault.
If you have been dropped, you need to get ready. God’s about to lift you. He’s about to set you in a higher place. He’s going to take you where you could not go on your own—to a new level, to new opportunities, to new friendships, to new health, to new joy, to new fulfillment. You’re not going to come out the same. The Scripture talks about how God will pay you back double for the unfair things that happened. When you have a bad break and you get dropped, don’t get discouraged or bitter. Get ready for double. Get ready for increase. Get ready for favor. Get ready for new levels.
Step into the Unknown
God has a route overview for your life. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, He laid out your plan. He not only knows your final destination, He knows the best way to get you there. But unlike the navigation system, God doesn’t show you the route overview. He doesn’t tell you how it’s going to happen, how long it’s going to take, where the funds are going to come from, or whom you’re going to meet. He leads you one step at a time. If you’ll trust Him and take that step into the unknown, not knowing how it’s going to work out, He’ll show you another step. Step-by-step, He’ll lead you into your destiny.
The difficulty of this method is that we like details. We wouldn’t have any problem with taking that step of faith—starting that business, going back to school, moving to that new location—if we knew where the money was coming from, how long it was going to take, and that the right people were going to be there for us. If we had the details, it would be easy to step out.
But here’s the key: God doesn’t give the details. He’s not going to give you a blueprint for your whole life. If you had all the facts, you wouldn’t need any faith. He’s going to send you out not knowing everything. If you’ll have the courage to step into the unknown and do what you know He’s asking you to do, doors will open that you could never have opened, the right people will show up, you’ll have the funds and any other resources you need.
An Expected End
Your end has already been established. Your final scene has already been shot. The good news is that you don’t end in defeat, in failure, in disappointment, or in heartache. You end in victory, as more than a conqueror, as the head and not the tail, fulfilling your destiny.
But here’s the key: as in a movie, there will be twists and turns. There will be times when you think, I know I’m supposed to be going that way, but I’m headed just the opposite way. My goal is to get over there, so why am I facing the other direction? There will be scenes in your life that on their own don’t make sense. If you stopped right there at the divorce, the sickness, or the loss, it would look as though things didn’t work out. It would look as though they got the best of you.
But what you don’t realize is that’s not your final scene. As long as you have breath, your movie is still in development. You may be in a difficult scene right now, something you don’t understand—a negative medical report, a setback in your finances—and it may look as though a dream has died. You have to remind yourself that that’s not how your story ends. You have an expected end.
If you’ll keep moving forward, there’s going to be another twist coming, but this time it will be a good break, a promotion, a restoration, a healing. God knows how to weave it all together. He’s already established the end.