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Walking With God Through the Dark Times - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
February 2, 2023 12:00 am

Walking With God Through the Dark Times - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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February 2, 2023 12:00 am

God will walk with you and give you hope when you fully trust in Him.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Thursday, February 2nd. Believers never have to grope their way through difficult times alone. We always have the steady hand of our loving Heavenly Father to guide us through the dark times. We all have walked through those dark times in our lives, things we don't understand. And oftentimes there are things we don't understand, why they happen and why they happen, when they happen. Times we feel overwhelmed, don't understand what's going on. Times we just want to give up and quit.

Times when we feel like everything seems to be hopeless and we feel so helpless. It may be that those dark times come with something financial, something that's continually a burden in your life. Or it may be because the marriage breaks up and it's a time of dread, darkness in your life. It could be grief over your children for something that's going on in their life.

Maybe you've lost your job. Maybe it's a time of ill health and it just goes on and on and on. Maybe your fondest dreams have been dashed and the future looks so gloomy. All of us are going to go through dark times in our life. We won't always understand why.

Sometimes they're going to be short-lived. Sometimes they're going to be prolonged and we do not understand why God doesn't stop it even now. But even though that happens, there's a way for us to respond. And God has given to us in His Word the principles by which you and I to operate in every single circumstance of life, no matter what it is. And when we talk about walking through darkness, I want to be sure we understand something. And that is that it's one thing to walk in darkness, it's something else to walk through darkness. Now, the Scripture says, for example, in Colossians chapter one, Paul is talking about our relationship to Christ and where we are in that relationship.

And here's what he says in this first chapter. He says, we know, for example, that He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His dear Son, so that we as believers, in Colossians one thirteen, we as believers do not live in darkness. We may walk through dark times. So there's a difference in walking through dark times, which are those times of difficulty and hardship and pain in their life and not walking in a life of sin.

For example, he says in first John chapter one, listen to what he says. He says, if we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus, His Son cleanses us from all sin. So we're not talking about living in darkness. We're not talking about walking in darkness as a sinful situation, but through those dark times in our life. And that's what I want to talk about in this message entitled Walking with God Through the Dark Times. And somebody you may say, oh, my goodness, I've been there.

Well, what did you do when you were there? And you may say, well, that's where I am now. What are you doing and how are you responding in these dark times in your life? And so I want to choose the life of Joseph, for example, and you may turn to the thirty seventh chapter of Genesis, because it's interesting that though he was not the most important one of Jacob's sons, that thirty-seven through fiftieth chapters of the book of Genesis is all about the life of Joseph. And he's a perfect example for us to look at and examine and see how God helped him walk through a long period of darkness.

And so wherever you are, whatever's going on in your life, and right now things seem gloomy and not just a little bit dark, but you say, man, in my life, it's like midnight. I don't understand what's going on. I don't understand why.

I don't understand why God is allowing these things. I don't understand the loss of my loved one. I don't understand what's happened to my marriage. I don't understand why my finances are where they are.

I don't understand why my children are acting the way they're acting. And this is a very dark time in my life. What I want you to see in this passage is this. In these chapters, there are six principles. I want to ask you concerning these six principles that you write them down, because I can guarantee you, you are either in a dark season of your life, you are either going to go through one, you have been through them, and no matter what, we all go through them because that's just life. We go through trying, difficult, hard times, which we call times of darkness. So I want to read these first four verses to give us a little background, a little capsule about Joseph's life, because some of you will say, well, who is Joseph?

And I can tell you all about him in just about a couple of minutes. But listen to these verses beginning in the thirty-seventh chapter. Now Jacob, one of God's chosen servants, lived in the land where his father had sojourned in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Jacob. And so he tells us about that.

And so here's what he says. Joseph, one of his sons, when seventeen years of age was pastoring the flock with his brothers while he was still a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah, the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives, and Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. Now Israel, that is Jacob's other name, loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was the son of his whole age and he made him a very colored tunic, which you heard about the many colored colors of Joseph's particular robe that his father made for him, very special one, coat of many colors, we called it. His brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and so they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms. And so I want you to look at the life of Joseph and apply it to our own life.

Somebody says, but I'm not Joseph. Now watch this. The principles are here not because we'll repeat the same circumstance, but we will need the same principles. So here's the first one. I want you to be sure to get them jotted down now.

The first one is this. That is, God is with us in our dark times. This is the foundational principle. God is with us in our dark times. When we go through difficult times, those dark times in our life, you can rest on this truth that even as God was with Joseph, He's going to be with you. Does He not say in that thirteenth chapter of Hebrews chapter five, He says, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I will not abandon you in any situation, any circumstance, at any time.

He says, I'm going to be with you. So that the basic bottom line principle when you and I are walking through the dark times, no matter how dark, no matter what the source is, God is with me in this darkness. And as a child of God, you have the right, you have the authority. Listen, the privilege, the anticipation, the expectation, you can have absolute confidence in this, that no matter what you're facing in life, God is going to be with you in that. Basic principle, God is with me in this darkness. Now the second principle is this, and that is that God has a purpose for allowing these dark times in our lives.

You say, well, but you know what I'm going through doesn't make any difference. If you're a child of God, God has a very specific purpose for allowing whatever darkness you're going through in your life. This is why we come back to Romans eight twenty-eight over and over again. God causes all things to work together for good. And what happens is when it's dark and we can't see the good, we say, well, I know that verse, I know it's in the Bible, but my circumstance.

Does it make any difference what circumstance we have? God is going, listen, He has a purpose in our life allowing these things to happen, and that purpose could be one of many things. And certainly here, a very definite purpose in the life of Joseph, and that is God was preparing him, listen, for a place of service that would be an awesome place of service because the truth is in human terms, he was acting as Savior, Savior of his family by bringing them down. Savior of the whole civilization of Egypt because seven long years of famine.

Had there been no preparation, people would have died with the thousands and thousands and thousands. And so what appeared to be an evil act on the part of his brothers became, listen, an act of salvation in the eyes of God. So how many times do you suppose Joseph must have asked God, what are you up to?

Why have you allowed this? Thirteen years of darkness, day after day, week after week, month after month, nobody there to love him, nobody to care for him. His family is up there somewhere out yonder in Canaan.

He has no idea what all this is about. And you see, this is where our real character comes forth. Am I willing to trust God when I cannot see my way clear? And the only thing I have is what I believe because there's nothing around me that says God is loving me at this time. And so the principle is simply this, God has a purpose in it all. The third principle I want you to notice is this, and that is, listen, the darkness will last as long as is necessary for God to accomplish his purpose. Somebody says, well, how long is this going to last?

As long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose. Now all of us would like to face some bad situation, some darkness in our life, get on our knees and say, Father, here's what You said. If we ask anything in Your name that You will do it. I'm asking right now to remove this darkness, thank You in Jesus' name.

I'm just going to thank You for Your answer right now. And you know what happens? It just gets darker. It just gets darker. You say, well, God, I thought You answered prayer.

He does. But you see, what we have to ask is what's God's purpose? Watch this. I've lived long enough to know that every single solitary time when I got through that period of darkness, I could look back and think, oh, now I see what you're up to. I understand what you're doing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Do I want to go back through it again? Absolutely not. Absolutely not. Am I grateful He brought me through it? Absolutely yes. Am I grateful for what I learned? Yes, indeed. Do I want to go back through it again?

No, no, no. God has a purpose. Now watch this. You say, well, how long is God going to leave me in the darkness that I'm in? I'll tell you how long.

Till He gets you where He wants you at this point in your life in preparation for what He wants to do in your life. Now you say, now wait a minute. Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. God's not going to put me in charge of this, that and the other.

How do you know that? You don't know what God has in mind for you. You say, well, I just can't have that kind of influence.

And you know, listen, watch this. You never know whose life you're influencing. You never know whose life you're going to impact. And so you may be, you may be in a job or in a vocation that you think, well, you know what? I just go to work and I do my thing.

Nobody pays any attention to me. You don't know that. Let me just give you a simple example of something that happened in one of the book signings. I was sitting in that signing books and this little boy walks up.

He's ten years of age. And very manly, he says, Dr. Stanley, would you sign my book? And I said, I'd be happy to. So he's looking at me and I'm talking to him for a moment or two then. Then he's, he looks at me and he says, could I hug you?

I say, well, sure you can. So he comes around and hugs me and I hug him back. And so he walks away.

So I keep signing books in about probably about a half an hour or so later. I see him slipping down this side. Now all the folks come down this side. I see him walking down this side by himself.

And he finally gets up enough courage to walk back to me again and looks at me and he says, would you hug me again? Now listen to this. This happened to two ten-year-old boys in the same book signing, neither of whom knew each other, and at least an hour and a half apart.

But here's what it said to me. I think, Lord, you must have something in mind that you place in the heart of a ten-year-old. And, and both of the, the first boy's father said, he never misses you. Every Sunday he's sitting right there with us watching. He says, I have all your tapes. The other mother said, my son listens to you every Sunday.

And she says, I don't know, I don't know how he understands all that is if she didn't understand too much of it. But neither here nor there. What I want you to see is this. You know what? I went to Tampa to sign books. God sent me to Tampa to hug two little boys. Because you know what? Somehow God is already working those two boys' lives. And somehow they needed something.

And somehow, by God's grace, they saw something in me that they, that they wanted to get hugged by me. Now listen carefully. Let's forget who it is. I'm not talking about me. You never know whose life your life is impacting. And you never know who'd just like to have you shake their hand. You don't know who'd just love for you to say, I'm praying for you. And you don't have any idea what a hug from you can mean to somebody else, especially when they're walking through darkness.

Don't underestimate. Listen, I think of you, you mothers and some of you, many of you are mothers who have no husband there, no father. And you think, well, what kind of a job am I doing? And what difference is it going to make? And I'm a failure.

No, you're not a failure. You think about this, the impact you have upon that son and that daughter. You cannot look into the future and figure it all out.

You cannot. You must be obedient to God and allow God to impact your son and your daughter through your love and your kindness and your generosity and your prayers and your Bible reading with them and all the rest. And so you see what God is preparing you for. It takes time. And oftentimes we just want to rush through the bad times. I do, just like you do.

We're going to rush through them and get on with something better. But you know what? God knows what He wants to do with your life. And so listen, watch this. All the dark times you've been through have been preparation. If you've responded correctly, preparation and have been times of progress in your life that you didn't even understand. And Joseph didn't understand it.

He could never have foretold what was going to happen. That's why the principles are so very important. And that is, listen, God is working a purpose in our life.

Now watch this. Somebody says, Well, but how do I know it's going to work out that way? It depends on how you respond. You can respond in the dark times by anger, hostility, bitterness, resentment, fear, frustration, fight, futility.

In other words, all the attitudes you can have. And you know what will happen? Somebody says, Well, how long am I going to stay in the darkness?

Just as long as you fight against God. When you surrender your will to Him to say, Lord, I don't understand it. I don't like it. I want out, but I yield myself to you that whatever you're trying to accomplish in my life, please God, keep me here till you get me where you want me in order to accomplish in my life what you want to accomplish.

Now, it's a whole lot easier for me to say that this morning than it has at other times in my life. But here's what I discovered. I had to get to that place where I said, Okay, God, I don't like it.

I don't want it. But I want to stay here until you finish what you are trying to do in my life to get me where you want me. I can tell you this. Every single time I can look back and see God had something in mind. And I can look at a major, major period of darkness in my life.

The worst period of darkness I have ever walked through, and we wish you don't know one. I can look back today and look back and see what God was doing. Because in that pain and in that darkness, I didn't understand it. I could not have foreseen what was happening. But you know what He was doing?

He was making it possible for me to speak to people all over this world with hurt and pain and sorrow who are going through similar or the same kind of darkness. And you know what? That opened their minds and their hearts to listen to me because before they'd say, You don't know anything about hurt. You don't know anything about pain. Well, I don't want to listen to you.

And you know what? God takes us through things we don't understand to get us where He wants us in order to do what He wants us to do. And so whatever darkness you go through, you must remember this. God has a purpose.

And part of that purpose is preparation. I don't like it. I cry. I weep. I say, God, take me out of this.

You know what? If you respond in bitterness, anger, hostility, resentment and rebellion toward God, all you do is prolong the period. Now watch this. And if you don't repent of that, you don't get over that, you don't surrender and yield, you know what'll happen?

You just stay in the darkness. And you can't blame God. You're there now because you chose not to yield to this time of preparation. Sometimes it's cleansing. Sometimes it's character building. And so often it's preparation for something God wants to do in your life.

Don't keep underestimating, listen, the power of your single life in someone else's life because you don't know what kind of impact you're going to have. It may be a child. It may be an adult. And sometimes it's just a word you say. Sometimes it's a sentence. Sometimes it's a thought.

Sometimes somebody you work with, somebody in your family, whatever, sometimes you just walk up to them and tell them, I just want you to know that I just love you and hug them real good. You have no earthly idea what that does for people who are living in darkness. And think about this. People have no real close friends. They have no real close family where they're living and they're going through a very difficult time. They desperately need some assurance. They desperately need a touch from God. And listen, you and I become the vehicle. We become the avenue through which God sends that word of encouragement to people who are walking in the darkness.

Don't ever underestimate it. Thank you for listening to Walking with God Through the Dark Times. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-02 06:04:15 / 2023-02-02 06:12:22 / 8

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