Keys to the Kingdom
I grew up in the country and I never thought of being afraid as I walked at night from the detached garage up to the house. Neither one of my folks taught me to be scared of the dark, but they did teach me to respect God, people, lightning, certain animals (like a horse, a sow with piglets, a dam with her puppies), state troopers, etc. Having respect and being afraid is not the same thing. However, I’ve always been downright scared when I’ve seen a cruiser with lights flashing in my rear-view mirror. Like a cat on a hot tin roof, I immediately knew I was guilty of speeding. But when I respect the speed limit, I never think about being pulled over and given a ticket. Being afraid is a very unpleasant experience and sometimes we actually bring it on ourselves, e.g., daydreaming with a lead foot.
“Now when all the people [Israelites] saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, ’You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.’ Moses said to the people, ’Do not fear [be scared], for God has come to test you, that the fear [respect, esteem, worship, veneration, honor, love] of Him may be before you, that you may not sin.’ The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:18-21 ESV).
When the people rejected the opportunity to draw near to God, I believe they missed out on receiving something supernatural from Him. There’s no logical reason to stand far away when we can snuggle in to receive help, strength, and comfort in His presence. As believers, we’re to live in constant pursuit of His presence. The reason believers fellowship with God through His Word, pray, listen for His gentle voice, and follow His leading is because that’s how we stay in close contact with Him. Living in God’s presence is how we change from glory to glory week after week. “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord — who is the Spirit — makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT).
There may be times in your life when you feel confused, afraid, discouraged, or lonely, but keep pursuing God. Be like Moses and walk straight into the thick darkness and, if you don’t give up, you’ll find God right in the middle of it (ref. 1 Kings 8:12). No matter where you are or what‘s going on, God is there with you. King David said, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:7,8 NKJV).
There are times when life can be so dark you could slice it with a knife. Sometimes it’s so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Sometimes it takes a long night to truly appreciate the gorgeous sunrise. But every time you’re troubled you can always come into God’s presence. Even in the middle of the thickest darkness, God will take your hand and lead you to the light. “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Just as King David wanted Mephibosheth in his presence (2 Samuel 9:3,5-7), God wants His children in His presence. What a comforting privilege to be wanted by the Great I AM!
The Key: Don’t be afraid of the dark because God is waiting for you in the middle of it.