“All that night” the Lord was working,
Working in the tempest blast,
Working with the swelling current,
Flooding, flowing, free and fast.
“All that night” God’s children waited–
Hearts, perhaps in agony
With the enemy behind them,
And, in front, the cruel sea.
“All that night” seemed blacker darkness
Than they ever saw before,
Though the light of God’s own presence
Near them was, and sheltered o”er.
“All that night” that weary vigil
Passed; the day at last did break,
And they saw that God was working
“All that night” a path to make.
“All that night,” O child of sorrow,
Canst thou not thy heartbreak stay?
Know thy God in darkest midnight
Works, as well as in the day.
– From the Streams in the Desert
“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night” (Exodus 14:21).
In this verse there is a comforting message showing how God works in the dark. The real work of God for the children of Israel, was not when they awakened and found that they could get over the Red Sea; but it was “all that night.”
So there may be a great working in your life when it all seems dark and you cannot see or trace, but yet God is working. Just as truly did He work “all that night,” as all the next day. The next day simply manifested what God had done during the night. Is there anyone reading these lines who may have gotten to a place where it seems dark? You believe to see, but you are not seeing. In your life-progress there is not constant victory; the daily, undisturbed communion is not there, and all seems dark.
“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night.” Do not forget that it was “all that night.” God works all the night, until the light comes. You may not see it, but all that “night” in your life, as you believe God, He works.
– From “Streams in the Desert”
No matter how many times, my heart tells me not to feel, but believe in God, there are times in my life, when distressed all around, when troubles seem to engulf me, when the darkness seems to lost forever, when even my bones are in pain due to severe afflictions, my soul cries out as my eyes are looking at the heavens for a sign: But, where are You, God, in my trouble?
Every time, absolute silence comes as an answer from the heavens. Never knew that silence could break your heart so well. But it always leaves me confused. I used to remember those days, when I had been saved. Whenever I looked at the heavens, I always received an answer, a sign. Not anymore. Has the Lord changed? No, that can’t be. The LORD is immutable; Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday, today and forever. So, why am I not getting the answers and the signs I received when I came into His fold many years back?
The more I cried out to the heavens, asking where the Lord is in my trouble, more deafening the silence became. But, I also noticed that despite not knowing where the Lord is during my troubles, I am being delivered as He has promised. It tells me the Lord is near… but how near, it left me wondered, till one day the Lord gave me an answer through the Scriptures.
I will be with him in trouble. – Psalm 91:15 (NKJV)
Suddenly it all made sense. I understood why the heaven was silent when I was crying out. I understood that why, despite all the silence, I did not fall into unbelief. The LORD loves me so much, when I am in trouble, He is with me in my troubles. YHWH Shammah is with me when I am in trouble. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is my Immanuel, God with us. In trouble, now my eyes are not turning towards the heaven, and crying out in a disheartened voice, “Where are You, God?” Instead, when troubles surround me, I look at them and say with confidence: “The Lord is with me in my trouble; not only will He deliver me, but in grace, He will also honor me.”
Yes, dear friend, in your trouble, the Lord is with you. Cheer up. Be still. HE will deliver you and He will surely honor you. Amen. God bless us all.
… and the rest, some on boards and some on parts of the ship. And so it was that they all escaped safely to land. – Acts 27:44 (NKJV)
As the ship faced the wrath of tempestuous head wind, Euroclydon, everyone in the ship lost their hope. It had been nearly two weeks since they saw sun or even a star, and they had no idea where they were. Amidst all those who had lost hope, Paul stood like a light shining in the dark, and declared that they all would be saved; not one man would lose his life. And he proclaimed, “I believe in God, and it shall be even as it was told me.” (Acts 27:25)
The Word came from God and it was believed by the man of God, and soon it came to fruition. Except not in the way we would describe as the majestic manner in which God delivers those who trust Him. The Bible says that some of them held on to boards and others to broken pieces from the ship and escaped.
How often in our life we have faced such circumstances? We were in a very tiring situation and the Lord gives His Word to us. That He would deliver us from evil. That He would not let us be ashamed because we put our trust in Him. That before the eyes of our enemies, He would exalt us, and show to them that He is with us and He loves us. And we are jubilant, waiting for that moment of great glory to come, where the Lord in His majesty, comes down from the Heavens, lifts us from our troubles and anoints us before our enemies.
But nothing of that sort happens. As we are waiting for the mighty arm of the Lord to appear, we see some wooden boards, some broken pieces passing by. Of course, we could take hold of them and reach land safely. But did not the Lord promise great things? Nah, these broken pieces and boards are for mere mortals. Not for the righteous who lives by faith. I will not use such mundane means to escape; no, no, I have suffered so much to escape in such a whimpering fashion. Let those broken pieces and boards pass. See the salvation of God. I wait. I wait. I am waiting. I am still waiting. I am wondering why God has not delivered me yet. Now, I am waiting, but confused. I am waiting, but my faith is shaken. A little. Okay, a lot. Now, there are doubts in my heart. Did I misunderstand what the Lord told me? Or did God lie to me? No, no, He does not lie. Have I lost something in the translation? I am wondering.
But as I wait with tired eyes, all I see are more boards and broken pieces. And a still voice telling my heart, “This is the way out. Grab it.” But I refuse. It cannot be the voice of the Almighty. It has to be the devil, trying to deceive me. I know that the Lord will deliver me in a spectacular fashion. That will shut the mouths of all my enemies. That will vindicate all my silent suffering.
Yet, all I see is more and more boards and broken pieces of wood, and that voice still telling me, “Grab it. Don’t ignore the little things that God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided you.” Now slowly, I realize that it is the Spirit of God talking to me. But, then, what about all the promises? Yes, they are still there, safe in Christ Jesus. They are “Yes” and “Amen” in my Savior and Redeemer. Then how come I have to be delivered in such a prosaic manner?
Then the Lord teaches me that lesson I must have learned long back. My faith must never feed my ego. My faith must make me humble. My faith must not fill me with pride. All those spectacular escapes I was dreaming about, those were to satisfy my ego, not for the glory of my Father. I was waiting for them, because my pride wanted such a great show for me, not for the Son of God Who loved and gave His life for me.
Oh, somewhere along being filled with faith, I have fallen prey to the oldest sin – pride. The broken pieces of ship represent what I have to be. The ship, though majestic and grand, could not take me to the land safely. But when it is broken into pieces, one of the smallest pieces is all God needs to fulfil His promise for me, and it will take me home safely.
When I am full of myself, like that ship, I may falter in reaching the destination. But when I am broken, tossed around by the wind and the waves, I know that I will reach the shore safely; and I will also help someone else to reach safely, by just hanging on to me.
Oh Lord, break me into broken pieces, so that my pride sinks in this sea. Break me, so that I can learn humility. Break me, so that You can fulfil Your promise and Your Name alone be glorified. In Jesus’s Name, I ask, Amen.
And not being weak in faith, he (Abraham) did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. – Romans 4:19 (NKJV)
God visited Abraham when he was 99 years old and gave him a more pointed promise this time – that Abraham and Sarah would have a child of their own in the span of normal time of life. That is, within 10 months, they would be holding Isaac in their hands, filled with joy.
When God says this promise, we see that the first time, it was Abraham who laughed, and the next time, it was Sarah. The promise was meant for them, and the fulfilment of the promise depended on them, and yet, they both laughed because they knew the ground reality. Abraham’s body was dead as he was close to 100 years old and Sarah’s womb was also dead. But once the Lord repeats His promise, the Bible says this: Abraham did not consider.
How could he not consider? It was going to be his own seed, and his body was dead. It was going to be born out of Sarah’s womb, and her womb was also dead. Yet, Abraham chose not to consider the dead things in his life.
There are three things Abraham teaches here.
He chose not to consider. It was not like he did not know. He knew the circumstances, but he chose not consider. Often, believers who are filled with faith, who are waiting upon the promises of God, are accused of living in a dream world, not facing the realities of life.
Yes, it is true that some live in a bubble, not ready to face the realities of life. They do not want to know the harsh realities of life, they do not want to face the troubles that surround them.
But for those who faith are genuine, it is not like they do not know the realities of life; it is that they choose “not to consider” them.
He chose not to consider the “dead” things in his life. On the one side, Abraham had the Word of God, the Living Word of God – the Word that gives life; on the other side, he had his dead body and Sarah’s dead womb to consider. And he chose not to consider the dead things in his life.
For our Lord God is a Living God and He is the Author of all life. HIS Words are mighty and omnipotent; before His Words, nothing on this earth has any stopping power. When Jesus commanded, “Lazarus, come out”, neither death nor the grave had any authority or power over Lazarus. When the Lord declared, “There be light,” there was light.
So, dear friend, what are you going to consider? The living promises of our living God or the dead things in your life that are against those very promises? God’s Word has power to give life. So, do not look at the circumstances of your life. Don’t look at how “dead” the chances of the promises being fulfilled. Look only at the Word of God. Look only at the Lord.
Finally, Abraham did consider only one thing. That God Who promised is also able to do what He had promised (Romans 4:21). That was the only that mattered to Abraham. Who gave the promise? The Almighty God. Would He lie? No, He does not lie. Was He able to do what He had promised? Yes, He is able to do.
Dear friend, that must be our only consideration. Who gave this promise to you? Is it our Lord Almighty? Have you received those promises through Jesus Christ? Then those promises are “Amen” and “Yes” in Him. Has the Lord ever lied? No, He cannot lie. And is He able to do what He has promised? Yes, He is the Lord Omnipotent, and He is able to do what He has promised.
Then let us not consider those things that are dead, and consider only the Lord and His promise. And in His time, in due time, we will rejoice with our father Abraham, that our faith in the Living God and His promises through His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, has been rewarded as He has told.
I waited patiently for the Lord. – Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)
Waiting patiently for the Lord seems to be a total failure at times. You are compelled by the Lord to stand still. You remember your calling; you are called to do great things for Him, and initially you are busy with so many things. Yes, trials, tribulations, afflictions and suffering – all are present, but none of that matters, because you are doing great work for the Lord, and then suddenly there is an enforced inaction.
Initially, you are not even sure if it is the will of God. As you attempt to do few things, all of them end up as failures and in disappointment. Slowly, as you see the hand of the Lord behind your standing still, initially there is a joy as you realize it is God Who is asking you to stand still, and there you are, standing still, like the sun over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12-13).
Then you realize though your sun and moon are standing still, the earth is still rotating, and everyone’s life keeps going. They come to you often, complain about the various things happening in their life, but at least things are happening in their life. Though they are struggling, and are afflicted in every side, at least they are moving forward. For you, though, there has been no movement forward for so long. You are there, waiting patiently for the Lord.
And, you already know that, it is thousand times harder to stand still for the Lord, than being active in the work of the Lord amid the day-to-day’s troubles. It may look like a failure as the life moves on for others, but dear friend, this is one of the truest tests of your faith. To stand still, waiting for the Lord, without losing hope and losing your heart, to give up the work and honor to others, to be quiet, rejoicing in the promises of the Lord requires greater faith, especially when those busy multitude go ahead and go away. But you are chosen, by God, to stand still and see His salvation.
“Thou art my King, O God: Command deliverance (victories, margin) for Jacob”
(Psalm 44:4 RV).
Here is no foe to your growth in grace, no enemy in your Christian work, which was not included in your Savior’s conquests.
You need not be afraid of them. When you touch them, they will flee before you. God has promised to deliver them up before you. Only be strong and very courageous! Fear not, nor be dismayed! The Lord is with you, O mighty men of valor– mighty because one with the Mightiest. Claim victory!
Whenever your enemies close in upon you, claim victory! Whenever heart and flesh fail, look up and claim VICTORY!
Be sure that you have a share in that triumph which Jesus won, not for Himself alone, but for us all; remember that you were in Him when He won it, and claim victory!
Reckon that it is yours, and gather spoil. Neither the Anakim nor fenced cities need daunt or abash you. You are one of the conquering legion. Claim your share in the Savior’s victory.
– Joshua, by Meyer
Many years ago, as I was leading the worship in our church, there is this elderly believer who would make me very angry. She would be on her knees, with her hands clasped together and head bowed down… except she would be sleeping. Even when the believers are asked to stand and praise the Lord, somehow she would manage to fall asleep standing. Never once, I had seen her lose balance and falling over. To be honest, I wish I could do that.
When I spoke about her to other believers, everyone pounced upon this chance to condemn her. Apparently, everyone knew about her sleeping problem, and for some reason, some of the believers who were sitting next to her, blamed her for all their unanswered prayers. She was even blamed for the stagnancy of church growth – how would God answer our prayers when she is sleeping through the entire service? Some even compared her to the wayside land in the Parable of the Sower. While I did not share in such sentiments, I could understand the resentment of the believers.
One Sunday, I was leading the worship and saw her asleep yet again. I was so angry, I shut my eyes and kept leading the worship, and asked the Lord about her and other believers. I was expecting a pat on my shoulders for my zeal towards the Lord. Instead, the Spirit of God moved gently in my soul and asked me to open my eyes and take a look at her and other believers. Nothing had changed. Now the Lord asked me to look at them, the way He is looking at them. And I could not understand what that meant.
Then the Lord explained me, right there during the worship: all those who were sleepy or not worshipping happily are women. Women, who work for 6 days a week. They get up at 5 am, so that they can prepare everything for their family. Then they go to work and come back. Most of the time, they eat only one meal a day. And when they come back, they cannot take rest, as they have to get the food ready for their children, wash the clothes and clean their homes. No one would do that for them. The Lord asked: Whenever Jesus saw such a crowd, He was moved with compassion. Even now, He is compassionate towards them. Are you going to be angry at them?
Now, I am not very amenable. Yet, at the moment, the Spirit of the Lord broke my resolute nature and for the first time, I had compassion towards them. Slowly things changed. Honestly I don’t remember when she stopped sleeping during the worship service, but now just looking at her face, listening eagerly to the spoken word, praising the Lord with a smile on her face… it is such a blessing. Not just for me, everyone is talking about her child-like faith and her eagerness in listening to the Word of God. Once everyone wanted to throw her out; now she is being shown as an example to every new believer. Oh, how compassionate our Lord is! Why am I talking about this elderly believer? God willing, I will write, in another blog, more about two things that the Lord had done in her life, and may His Name alone be praised. Amen.
A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time. (NKJV)
I still can’t forget how I received this precious promise from the Lord. I was in college and as I had mentioned earlier, I was undergoing severe depression and my wife, who was my girl friend then, knew about this and was writing to me continuously. We were in different towns and during that time, not many knew about depression. So, only she knew and she would write three letters a week to help me. Hmmm, how much I miss writing and receiving letters. All these whatsapps and smses are instantaneous, but they are fast food. I still have the very first card she gave me, but today, it is so easy to delete everything and move on.
Anyway, I was studying in a men’s college and during that time, in our college, only three of us were in a romantic relationship and even that was a big thing. It was a taboo during that time. Nowadays, everyone has three relationships . So, we three boys would be getting letters regularly from our respective girl friends. This sort of pissed the other hostel inmates. Some of them never received any letters at all; for others, receiving one letter per semester itself is a big deal. And here are three guys receiving at least three letters per week.
So, one afternoon, none of us received any letters. The boys decided to open and read what were written. And expectedly the other two guys had received letters from their girl friends with so much romance and some titillation. Everyone had a laugh and gave those letters to those two boys. For me, they came and sat around me and stared at me. The only question they had is: “Are there love letters or the Epistles by Paul?” Because my wife would always start with a Biblical quote and explain how the Lord loves me unconditionally and that she has been praying for me and would end the letter with a Biblical promise. This is the typical love letter she wrote to me. And in that particular letter, she had written the promise. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the LORD, will hasten it in its time.
That was the last time they ever bothered me regarding those letters. And, they showed a profound respect to me from that day onwards. Hmmm, the miraculous ways in which the Lord fulfils His Word. And I thank Him for His precious promise and for the precious gift my wife is.
Whenever we think about our LORD, we always associate pure white and lots of bright light with Him. So, when things go wrong in our life, when darkness surrounds us, when we have no idea what is ahead of us, we are scared; we feel as if the LORD has forsaken us. We think that the LORD is far, far away from us.
But the Bible tells us something more encouraging.
When clouds and thick darkness surround you, dear friend, don’t lose heart. Because it means the LORD is very near, nearer than you think. We may not know where the LORD is because you are surrounded by clouds and thick darkness. We may not know where we are headed because it is too dark around us. We may be confused about tomorrow.
But among those dark clouds, in that thick darkness, the LORD is there. His mighty presence is there. And the right moment, not the moment we want, but at the right moment, the LORD will reveal Himself to us from those clouds and thick darkness. Not only He will reveal His glory to us, the second part of that verse says,
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”
– Psa. 97:2
Yes, the Righteous LORD will give everyone their dues; the Just LORD will deliver His justice.
So, if you are worried about this darkness that surrounds you, take a second to realize His presence. For, the LORD is nearer than you think; your deliverance is at hand. Amen.
Galatians 5:13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
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