Trusting in Darkness
‘Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay himself upon His God.’—ISA. 1. 10.
BEFORE we take this peace and strength-giving precept, with its enfolded promise, to ourselves, let us examine ourselves as to the conditions: fear of the Lord, and obedience to the voice of His servant. They are very clear. If we are not casting off fear;1 if we have this ‘beginning of wisdom,’a this perhaps not sufficiently recognized ‘treasure,” the fear of the Lord;4 and if we have sincerity of purpose about obeying the voice of His servant,5 and are not persisting in some known and wilful disobedience,6 which causes a different kind of darkness, the darkness that blindeth our eyes,7 then we are called to listen to all the comfort of this commandment.
‘Let him trust in the name of the Lord.’ What name? ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’8 What name? ‘Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’9 What name? Just this, JESUS !10 But how can we trust in what we do not much consider?”” Trust needs a very broad and strong foundation for its repose; it cannot poise itself on an inverted pyramid. But if we walk about that foundation, and go round about it, and mark well the bulwarks,12 we shall put ourselves in the way of realizing what reason we have to trust.13
1 Job XV. 4. 2 Ps_ cxi. 10. 5 Isa. xxxiii. 6.
^ Ps. cxix. 69, 6 Josh. xxiv. 24. ^ John iii. 20.
^ I John ii. II. 8 Kx. xxxiv. 6. 7. 9 Isa. ix. 6.
10 Matt. i. 21. 11 Ps ix. 10; ib. cxix. 55.
12 Ps. xlviii. 12, 13. 13 Prov. xviii. 10. 14 Pg. xx. 7.
Is it dark now, dear friend? Will you, as a little child, simply do what I ask you this morning? Take this Name of the Lord,” in all its varied ful ness, ‘shut thy door,” and kneel down without hurry. Then, asking first the Spirit’s promised help,3 pray over every separate part of it as so beautifully revealed for our comfort. And as you take up each word in petition, tell the Lord that you will, you do trust that, even though you cannot see or feel all the preciousness of it.8
Trusting in the name of the Lord, the Triune Jehovah—Father, Saviour, Comforter—will lead you on, not perhaps to any great radiance of light as yet, but to staying upon your God; for mark the added pronoun, first only ‘ the Lord,’ then ‘his God.’ Both the trusting and staying may be at first in the dark, but they will not be always in the dark. He that believeth on Him shall not abidein darkness. * Unto him ‘there ariseth light in the darkness.’5 But the promises are progressive: we must follow the light as soon as we see it, for ‘he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.”
But, meanwhile, even the trusting and staying shall be blessed, for ‘blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’7 ‘Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him; ‘8 and ‘all’ of course includes you. There may be very much unconscious blessing apart from sensible light and joy.* The visible, light-bearing rays of the spectrum are not the whole beam. It is not they which make the plant grow_; it is the dark rays with their mysterious, unseen vibrations that bring heat and chemical power.
1 Matt. vi. 6. 8 Rom. viii. 26; Zech. xii. 10.
8 Isa. xii. 2; Fs. xci. 2; xxxi. 1; Cant. i. 3. * John xii. 46. 6 Ps. cxti. 4. 6 John viii. 12. » John xx. 29.
8 Ps. ii. 12. 9 Ps. xxili. 4.
The first conscious blessing is not linked with even the trust, but with the’ staying ‘1 which grows out of it. ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.’a Then, again, the staying, and the certainly resulting, because absolutely promised, peace lead on to fuller and more settled trust: ‘Trust ye in the Lord for ever.”
How we do love a little child that nestles up to us from its cot in a dark room, and kisses the hand that it cannot see, and pours out all sorts of little confidences which it did not tell in the broad daylight! Do we not fondle it with a special gush of affection? However much we loved the little thing before, we think we love it more than ever! When the Father’s little children come to Him in the dark, and simply believe His assurance that He is there, although they cannot see,’ will He be less loving, less kind and tender?
‘I cannot hear Thy voice, Lord,
But Thou dost hear my cry;
I cling to thine assurance
That Thou art ever nigh.
I know that Thou art faithful
I trust, but cannot see
That it is still the right way
By which Thou leadest me.’
1 Jer. xvii. 7. 2 isa. xxvi. 3. 3 Isa. xxvi. 4.
* John XX. 29 ; Ps. xxxiii. 21,