Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
There’s a story found in Acts 4 about a time when Peter and John were arrested by the Sadducees for testifying of Christ. The next day, when Peter and John were brought out to account for their actions, Peter – filled with the Holy Spirit, said that he spoke by the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom they crucified but God also raised from the dead. As the rulers, elders, and scribes saw the boldness of Peter and John, they realized that these men had walked with Christ, and were His disciples.
Also with the disciples was a man they had healed. The Sadducees knew this fact could not be denied, and such a miracle gave more credence to the testament of Christ. Realizing that there was nothing more they could do, the leaders let John and Peter go. They threatened the disciples to speak no further of Christ, but Peter and John would not comply. After leaving, the disciples met up with their companions and told them all that had occurred. Afterwards, they prayed. The disciples asked God for continued boldness to speak His word and the ability to bless others through signs and wonders.
The disciples did not allow themselves to become preoccupied with their arrest or the subsequent threats. Instead, they requested that God give them the courage to do what was right, no matter the punishment. We then read in verse 31: And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. God would go on to bless them, but why not ask for deliverance and protection? When faced with the darkness, why weren’t the disciples worried about entering it?
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
We can gain some insight on the idea of facing darkness when we consider the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, found in Daniel 6. Daniel was faced with a decree stating that he could only pray to King Darius for the next 30 days. Anyone who broke this law would be thrown into the lions’ den. In the face of death, Daniel chose to keep praying to God. At home, Daniel knelt down on his knees with his windows open towards Jerusalem. There, he prayed as he had done so previously. Soon after, Daniel was arrested and thrown into the lions’ den. The irony of this situation is that King Darius did not want to punish Daniel. He cared for his friend, but the law could not be undone. King Darius, in all of his power, could not save Daniel from entering into that darkness.
God, however, could… but did not. Daniel would have to spend a night with the lions, just like you and I are called to do the same today. We live in a world of sin, and encountering lions is a consequence of that, among others. Unfortunately, when we encounter situations that we would prefer not to experience, we often falter. We feel anger and resentment as we are lowered into the den. Acceptance is far from us as we find ourselves complaining about the length of our stay. Yet Job asked an important question in Job 2:10. He said: Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? Daniel’s adversity resulted in him meeting the lions, but it was God’s divinity that gave the lions no power.
There Arises Light in the Darkness
Regrettably, when in the darkness, it’s easy to become consumed by it. We often think that we must leave the darkness in order to experience the light. Such a thought process can feel normal because our lives are built on transitions. We go from middle school to high school, and for some from high school to college. We leave one job and start another. Even when we die, you’ll hear the phrase – they’ve transitioned. It’s understandable that we see our lives as progressions with definitive starts and stops, but sometimes new starts are birthed before a season completely stops. We may not want this because the season we’re in is so painful that we just want it to end. Yet, Psalm 112:4 tells us: “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous”.
There is something beautiful about this scripture because it reminds us that darkness does not have the final say. Yes, Daniel was lowered into the lions’ den, but in the darkness light arose. Yes, Peter and John were arrested, but then they were let go. Because of their attitude and disposition, the Holy Spirit poured out even more onto their souls, allowing them to touch the lives of so many others. A bad situation doesn’t have to mean a bad ending. It is darkness that would prefer for us to lose hope… to think that in the midst of our sorrows and disappointments light cannot be found. Nevertheless, God has given us a way out. In the darkness, He reassures us that He can be found, and when we do find God, we understand how we can get out.
Breaking Free From Darkness.
Think of Joseph. Trapped in slavery and then imprisonment, Joseph made a choice to stay connected to the source. Light did arise in the darkness for Joseph, but that didn’t mean he was free from his external situation. Instead, God would send reminders to let Joseph know He was there, but it wasn’t Joseph’s time yet. This is one of the hardest lessons to face. To know that God’s time isn’t our time, and so – we must wait. Still, as Joseph remained connected to God, God’s light arose inside of Joseph, strengthening and renewing him until it was time for Joseph to go. The same applies for us today. As we wait, I am reminded of Psalm 119:133 that says: Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me
When we fall into Satan’s deception, we give more credence than warranted to our inability in overcoming the trials that show up in our lives. To break free, we have to stay in God’s word. Eventually, there is so much light inside of us that the darkness can no longer imprison us. God’s word becomes written in our hearts so no matter the situation, we remember that darkness isn’t as powerful as we think it is. We can experience peace because we know that this darkness is not forever. Good can be birthed in the sorrow. Joy can be had while in pain. With God, there arises light in the darkness, and in God’s light fear ceases to exist.
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