As I prepare these weekly thoughts here at Classic State of Mind, I often pray for people I will never ever know or see who might be listening to my voice. It’s a very humbling thing to know someone might be listening who is desperate for an encouraging word or a truth that will never fail.
I share a phone call I had this week with an acquaintance of mine who was going through what I would call ‘deep water,’ in the hope that it will encourage you.
I haven’t seen my friend in a few years. When he called, he told me his marriage was over, as his wife had left him. His business was in shambles, and he was experiencing severe financial stress. He was in poor health, due no doubt in part to the circumstances he was experiencing, and the challenges in his life.
He was a strong believer who wanted to follow God’s plan and direction for his life. But he was having a difficult time discerning God’s will, he said, or even sensing God’s presence in his life. As he continued to tell me about the pain, sorrow, confusion, and doubt he was experiencing, he described his journey as a room; a room he found himself in that was very, very dark.
I listened carefully to my friend as he told me his story, and I could feel his sense of loss, separation, and the quandary he was in about what to do next. The last thing he needed was advice from me. So, rather than ‘tell’ him something, I decided to ask him to imagine something.
I asked him to imagine that he was, literally in that very dark room he had described. A room so dark he couldn’t imagine how big it was, or what was in it. Or where, or even if there was a door for him to leave. I asked him to imagine that he didn’t know how high the ceiling was in that room, or whether it had furniture, or where any furniture might be. Only imagine the blackest, darkest room he’d ever been in.
He said he wouldn’t have to imagine. He told me that such a room was exactly where he thought he was. Then, I asked the man, “You are inside the dark room; where is God?” And, after many moments, the man said, “I believe God is in the room, with me. I can’t see him. I can’t hear him. But I believe he’s in this dark room with me.”
And because I didn’t have any ‘answers’ for my friend’s profound dilemmas, I asked what I thought was another important question: “What are you telling the God who is with you in the blackness?” After several moments of silence, he said, ‘Interesting that you should ask that question. I think I’m telling God that even though it’s so dark I cannot see, I trust him. And trust is a verb, not a noun.’
And then, more silence, before I posed one final question:
One final question, of my friend whose life seemed to have no good answers: “What is God telling you as you sit with him in that dark, dark place?”
Again, a long silence, before my friend said, “God is telling me he is in this dark place with me.” And I asked, “Is He enough?”
And he said, “Yes … Yes, he is enough.”
If you find yourself in a very dark room, today, God is there, I promise, because He promised:
‘For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
Nor principalities, nor powers,
Nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature
Shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.