We live in a fast food society. When we want food, we get food. If we have to wait for it longer than we expect, we've got problems. In fact, some companies even promise free food if they can't deliver in the promised time-frame.
This extends beyond food. Now, we're getting same-day deliveries for online orders. We've got unmanned drones dropping packages off in our back yards.
Our society doesn't like to wait.
We don't want it faster, we want it now.
So when we pray, we want an answer from God now. When we hear our savior is going to return, we wonder why he hasn't come back yet. When we hear that our lives can be changed if we follow Jesus, we question God's existence because we still struggle with the same stuff as before. When we start a mission to move out in ever widening circles to change our world, we want to see results yesterday.
There are 39 books that make up the Old Testament. All of them point towards the coming of a savior, the messiah, that will take away the sins of the world and reconcile man with God.
The Old Testament covers roughly 4,000 years of human history. For the majority of that time, people are waiting on the Lord.
There are about 30 authors who contributed to the Old Testament. All of them believed that Christ was coming.
39 books. 4,000 years. 30+ authors. No savior.
The God that created the universe, it seems, does not share our fast food desires.
And why would he? He invented time. Time is a thing that exists within our universe. What is time to someone who existed before the universe? When you are dealing with eternity, time becomes irrelevant.
Perhaps I'll be able to actually grasp that last statement when I leave behind this Earthly body.
Since I am still confined by time, there is one thing I have definitely experienced; dark times.
What are dark times?
Dark times are those periods in between the mountain top moments that we like to talk about, in between the wins that we love to celebrate at Radius. Dark times are where many of us spend the majority of our time.
Maybe you haven't heard God speaking to you lately. Maybe you're off your Bible reading habit. Maybe you haven't had an amazing prayer experience recently. Maybe you and God are kind of out of communication. Maybe life has thrown you a bunch of curve balls recently and you're mad at God. Maybe that prayer you've been praying just hasn't been answered. Maybe the person in the mirror isn't changing as fast as you had hoped.
Guess what? It's OK. You aren't alone.
So often we think we aren't 'holy' if we aren't experiencing God in some life changing, jump-up-and-shout kind of way. We watch people at church celebrating these huge wins and we sit in our seats wondering when our win is going to come.
It's going to come.
Dark times are usually what define us. Dark times help us understand our reliance on our creator. Dark times are when we wrestle with our understanding of our relationship with God. Dark times are really what bring us closer to Jesus.
There are three things we can't do when we are experiencing dark times.
- We can't rush through dark times. There is a purpose for our dark times, and if we try to rush it or fake some mountain top moment, then we are missing out on a genuine opportunity to put our trust in our savior.
- We can't setup camp and live in dark times. The book of Psalms tells us that we have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Dark times are a movement. They bring about growth, maturity, and lead to a perfecting of our hearts.
- We can't go through dark times alone. It is a time to reach out to friends and family and let your community lift you up, and help carry you through. We are weakest when we let the enemy isolate us from experiencing God's love.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Come join us next week as we continue in our series on Lights. And be sure to check out Amanda's message from this past Sunday, it will definitely help you move through your dark times.