Darkness Is My Closest Friend

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“In one single quiet hour of prayer it will often make more progress than in days of company with others. It is in the desert that the dew falls freshest and the air is purest. (Andrew Bonar)”

Many of us have been taught that if we are experiencing dark times, that it “must be” that God is frowning down upon us. The message of this week’s devotional, is that nothing could be further from the truth. As always, the first place to check up on this topic is the Bible. I found a text earlier this week that seems to reflect on this topic in a surprising way. Here, in our opening text, the Psalmist is reflecting on how “darkness is my closest friend.”

Prayer Is The Life

Prayer Is The Life

But I cry to you for help, LORD; in the morning my prayer comes before you. Why, LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me? From my youth I have suffered and been close to death; I have borne your terrors and am in despair. Your wrath has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me. All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me. You have taken from me friend and neighbour— darkness is my closest friend. (Psalms 88:13-18, NIV)

But how can this be, we may ask? Why does the Psalmist say that “darkness is my closest friend?” (Psalms 88:18)

It is precisely because of the part that “Faith” plays in the Christian’s life that the darkest night of our lives can be termed as “the night of faith.” I have had such nights. On such a dark night, my extreme sense of dislocation, injustice, and absurdity is prominent; (sometimes called “cognitive dissonance). According to “the everlasting gospel,” (Rev 14:6-12), human reasoning alone cannot cope with, nor explain the infilling of Jesus during the night of faith. and according to Bible prophecy, the whole world is about to experience this terrible “night of faith.” (see Rev 3:10)

In the opening text for today, I think that the Psalmist may have felt that any delight which he used to feel in prayer has evaporated from the winds of strife and trials. Perhaps the sweet certainty of Presence that he used to feel in prayer no longer exists, and he is expressing that because no new way of praying has yet happened. Nowadays we vaguely sense the call to prayer, but we can no longer define or answer the call. We cannot find a credible way to bring about the meeting with Jesus in prayer. Our faith being co-opted by the cares of this world.Our former feelings of closeness to God no longer arise spontaneously to make our praying easy or enjoyable. Many of us have fallen into thinking that we are standing before a God who is hidden and who does not want to communicate with us. Truly, this “night of faith” is but the beginning of serious, heart-felt contemplation, where we seemingly can find no way out of this stifling fog that has arisen in our sphere, to immobilize us; and hide every familiar landmark or sign that we thought was God’s indication of favour when we prayed. The thick darkness, (Exodus 20:21) seems so impenetrable, and almost claustrophobic, and we stoically concede that it “must be” unanswered prayer. If we examine more closely, what the Christian must see and believe regarding their night of faith, and the thick darkness, we may find the way around that darkness is right into it: as Moses demonstrated:

“And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:21).

Here we see that GOD was/and is right inside that “thick darkness.” Moses went charging right into it to meet God there! This is why I keep saying, “there is light in every cloud.” The Light of Christ is never daunted by darkness, or human failure.

I have trouble understanding why some churches or individuals seem so fixated on the mark of the beast stuff when they yatter about “end time prophecy.” Those very prophecies really only mention such ideas just three or four times, yet we have certain preachers gibbering about “the beast” and “666” so much that there is no room to talk about what we are really going to need during the time of the final crises, where “no one can buy or sell” unless they have this “mark” of the beast power in the book of Revelation. Today’s preachers, just like modern/secular media are stuck on detailing by excruciating tactics, that a certain denomination is behind all of the beast’s activities. But there is really no need to go there most times when we talk about prophecies. If the Bible doesnt do that, why do we? All one would need for that part of the message is the last verse of Revelation 17:

“And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” (Rev 17:18).

It’s not hard for anyone to know what/who this one text is talking about. There is only one city in all of the earth that meets this qualification. But it is certainly not intended to be the main emphasis of “the message.” We could really learn what God’s desire for us is during the “time of Jacob’s trouble,” (Jer 30:7), by closely examining what the Bible prophets did, how they responded, during those times when they wrote out the prophecies. Daniel is one of the best examples that I can thing of. Most, when they read Daniel 8-9 seem to always drift into talking about “the beast” or the “mark” of said beast. Yet Daniel had a response to it all that is most enlightening. I wrote a poem about Daniel’s experience:

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“Understand The Vision” Dan.8:17
(This poem is based on Daniel 8 & 9)

By the River of Ulai, the prophet “looked up”
As he was seeking
And when he “lifted up his eyes,” Daniel heard
King Jesus speaking
And down the corridors of time to the beast of
This our troubled day
We see the “Little Horn” is speaking peace as he
Forces church his way.

In the “latter times” of his kingdom when
Transgressions marked are “full.”
The time “appointed for the vision” on the
Mind of each will pull
“Dark sentences” embraced the King, when
transgressors all “stood up”
For they only “stand” to destroy;
to deceive
We dare not, ever,
drink the cup.

Daniel fainted at this little bit that he could
See while rapt in vision
Saying how “no one understood” it; as they held
Truth in derision
But the prophet understood the vision as the
Angel swiftly flew
For Daniel prayed and “made confession;” nothing
Less could ever do

In this vision of the end Gabriel spoke to Daniel
Past his praying and his tears
For Jeremiah, wrote before him of the long and
“Desolate years”
And gave Daniel understanding from “the books;” all
The “numbers of the days”
And we can have the understanding too; as we walk
These times in the blood-stained ways.

70 Weeks were “determined” for Jerusalem of old so
That everyone could see
How God will send His mighty angel when we need to
Know the prophecy
Daniel knew the secret of the walk we all must make
With Jesus in our day
He truly understood the “numbers of the years” for
Daniel learned to pray

“Consider The Vision” Daniel 9:23
– David T Battler, Oct.2006

Worried About “the final crises?”

Take some lessons from Daniel and other Bible characters.

Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. The eye of faith will discern God very near, and the suppliant may obtain precious evidence of the divine love and care for them. But why is it that so many prayers are never answered?

1/ You ask [God for something] and do not receive it, because you ask N1with wrong motives [out of selfishness or with an unrighteous agenda], so that [when you get what you want] you may spend it on your [hedonistic] desires. (James 4:3, AMP)

2/ David says, “I cried unto Him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” [Psalm 66:17, 18.]

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3/ By another prophet the Lord gives us the promise, “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” [Jeremiah 29:13.]

4/ Again, he speaks of some who “have not cried unto me with their heart.” [Hosea 7:14.]

5/ There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers. One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him. . . . The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received.

6/ Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. . . . Jesus said to His disciples, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24).

When we do not receive the very things we asked for, at the time we ask, we are still to believe that the Lord hears and that He will answer our prayers. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise anyway; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. This is why God’s answer to prayer is sometimes different. At times, He may say “no,” or “yes,” or “wait,” or “maybe.” Prayer is always answered. Just not the way that we sometimes expect or demand it.

7/ God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly:

“For Jehovah God is a sun and shield; Jehovah will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalms 84:11, MKJV).

8/ He who turns his ear away from listening to the law [of God and man], Even his prayer is repulsive [to God] (Pro 28:9, AMP).

9/ “Surely God will not listen to an empty cry [which lacks trust], Nor will the Almighty regard it.” (Job 35:13, AMP).

10/ The prayer which Nathanael offered while he was under the fig-tree, came from a sincere heart, and it was heard and answered by the Master. Christ said of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” [John 1:47.] Only Jesus reads the hearts of all, and understands their motives and purposes. “The prayer of the upright is his delight.” [Proverbs 15:18.] He will not be slow to hear those who open their hearts to him, and not exalting self, but sincerely feeling their great weakness, their urgent need, and unworthiness.

11/ Of Christ it is said: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly” (Luke 22:44). In what contrast to this intercession by the Majesty of heaven are the feeble, heartless prayers that are offered to God. Many are content with lip service, and but few have a sincere, earnest, affectionate longing after God.

12/ The presence of Christ alone can make men and women happy.–AH 28. {PM 292.1}
Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.–SC 93. {PM 292.2}

Truly, there is nothing more calculated to energize the mind and strengthen the intellect than the study of the Word of God. {PM 292.1}

In God’s will alone is found true peace, and assurance. We can face any trial, and crises, by turning into an opportunity to pray aright. God says through the prophet isaiah “come let us reason TOGETHER,” and this shows us that God desires to work with us through the power and miracle of prayer.

It is quite remarkable that the most brilliant colours of plants are to be seen on the highest mountains, in spots that are most exposed to the wildest weather. The brightest lichens and mosses, the loveliest gems of wild flowers, the brightest, most beautiful colours, all abound far up on the bleak, storm-scalped peak.

One of the richest displays of organic colouring I ever beheld was near the summit of a mountain in Jasper. The whole face of an extensive rock was covered with a most vivid yellow, orange and white lichen which shone in the sunshine like something displayed to bless those aspiring to reach the top.

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There, in that lofty region, amid the most frightening, isolated desolation, exposed to the fiercest tempest of the sky, the lichen, and alpine flowers exhibited a glory of colour such as they never showed below in the sumptuous, sheltered valley.

And is it not so with the Christian who is afflicted, tempest-tossed, and not comforted? Till the storms and vicissitudes of God’s providence beat upon them again and again, their character appears marred and clouded; but the trials clear away the obscurity, perfect the outlines of the believer’s disposition, and give brightness and blessing to their life.

And that is “the true witness.” (Rev 3:14):

“Christ in you, THE hope in glory.” (Col 1:27)

May your personal prayer life be animated and direct you into new paths that bring you closer to Jesus, is my prayer, in Jesus’s name. Like Jesus, like the Psalmist, darkness can be our friend and ally during the “final crises” (Rev 3:10). Our God is right in there, awaiting your petitions. As Moses showed us, we can rightly and safely walk right into the darkness, because God is there.

Through nature and revelation, through His providence, and by the influence of His Spirit, God speaks to us. But these are not enough; we need also to pour out our hearts to Him. In order to have spiritual life and energy, we must have actual relationship with our heavenly Father. Our minds may be drawn out toward Him; we may meditate upon His works, His mercies, His blessings; but this is not, in the fullest sense, communing with Him. In order to commune with God, we must have something to say to Him concerning our actual life. {SC 93.1} Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. {SC 93.2} When Jesus was upon the earth, He taught His disciples how to pray. He directed them to present their daily needs before God, and to cast all their care upon Him. And the assurance He gave them that their petitions should be heard, is assurance also to us. (SC 93:3)

Prayer is communion with God. It is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.

Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Prayer went before and sanctified every act of His ministry. It was by prayer that He was braced for duty and for trial. He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36)

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