Treasures in the Darkness

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I am currently a graduate student at the Baptist College of Florida. I won’t lie, it is hard. I am older and I think many of my brain cells have atrophied. Still, for reasons I don’t know yet, God said “Go back to school.” He even gave me a job right here so that I could do it for free. But I am also working on my doctorate. Surprised? My Masters will be in Christian Ministries with a concentration in Biblical Studies, but my Doctorate will be in Life Lessons and I’m studying at the School of Hard Knocks. The truth is, in one degree or another, we all are.

The ancient Psalmist declared, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). He emphasized this in verse 71 saying, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Though we’re not privy to the details, the Psalmist was clearly in some kind of distress – apparently self-inflicted (as are most of mine). From his struggles and the consequences of his actions, he came away with a hard-won wisdom and probably some battle scars as a continual reminder. I’ve got a few of those too.

While I wish I could just do the right things in life and not have to learn these hard lessons, I’m grateful that God doesn’t waste them. He said, “I will give you the treasure of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord” (Isaiah 45:3). He works in every difficult season with one objective in mind – that you may know Him better. What a treasure!

I don’t know what you’re struggling through right now. I don’t know how you came to be in this hard place. It may have been by your own hand or through the actions of another. But I know two things for certain: God is faithful and He will not waste a single tear. He will “bestow on you a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3). Beloved, that’s the treasure in the darkness.  

When You Don’t Have Time for God

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At one time I enjoyed long stretches every day in the Word and prayer.  I could study for hours to my heart’s content. At one time I sat on my back porch swing and talked long about deep things with my Father.  But since I started grad school, and especially since a little girl moved into my home and into my heart, those times of solitude are hard to come by. I don’t have the luxury of camping out in the Word and prayer every evening like I once did. There is a ton of studying to do. There are nightly baths and rocking her to sleep. These are good interruptions – I would almost say, holy interruptions. But they leave little time – or energy – for much else. So I’m up before the sun every morning – even on the weekends – to try to snatch a little time with my Father before my day gets crazy again. I think, for the season I’m in, God’s okay with it. One day, I will have a diploma in hand. One day, she will be too big for baths and rocking. And God and I will get back into our groove. But for now, books and babies are my life. I am blessed.

I see you Mama with a crying baby on your hip.  I see you college student surrounded by books.  I see you single parent working two jobs.  I see you, caregiver, doing for your aging parent things they once did for you. You know that you’re “supposed” to read your Bible.  You know that you need to pray more than “Help me, Lord!” prayers. But there’s no time. And when there is time, you fall asleep.  Let me give you a word today – God knows your struggle and He’s okay with the snatches of prayer and a verse or two a day.  He is not judging you. He waits for you with patience and welcomes the moments you have. Beloved, it won’t always be this way. Seasons in life change.  Take a moment or two for your soul, and if that is hard to come by know that He quiets you with His love and sings over you as you sleep (Zephaniah 3:17). He is with you, even when you can’t be with Him.