One of my favorite places on this earth is the 1000 Islands Region of New York State. It is found on the Saint Lawrence Seaway which borders along the countries of Canada and the United States. The area sports two castles and many magnificent homes, resorts and golf courses! I have been visiting this area for close to 30 years and it has become one of the more popular spots for my family and I to vacation. In fact, we spend a large portion of the summer months up here.
One of my favorite things to do while up here is to sit on the dock in front of our cottage after dark. It may sound strange but the darkness and the nothingness intrigues me. I know the river is still there but I cannot see it! There are no city street lights or vehicle traffic going by. However, even in the darkness you can hear and see the river still working. Huge ships that measure over 700 feet long safely navigate their way through the tight river passages under the cloud of darkness. The only thing that we on the shore can see is a few lights.
There have been a few times in my life when I have actually spent all night sitting on the dock, eventually to see the sunrise in the morning. It is times like these that I think of how God works in the darkness of our life. Many times, God will lead us into a trial and we never even see it coming. All of the sudden the darkness is upon us and we know there is something out there, but we cannot see it. We can rest assure though that, much like the ships passing in the night on the Saint Lawrence Seaway, God is effectively working in our situation; regardless of whether or not we can see the evidence of it.
One of the most quoted verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28. I too love that verse and the promise of it but I seldom quote that verse without mentioning verses 26 and 27 too! In the NIV, these verses read “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
What do I love about those verses? What is not to love? Have you ever had a situation in your life when you did not know what to pray for? I know that I sure have! These verses assure us that the Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf through wordless groans. How incredible is that? When we don’t know what to ask for, the Holy Spirit is petitioning on our behalf in accordance with the will of God! After knowing all of this, then comes that great promise that all thing will work out for good. Now, the part that we as humans sometimes struggle with is that they work out for good according to God’s purpose, not ours.
So, we can endure the darkness and the unknown simply because we can trust God to be working when we cannot see Him working and we can know that He is continuously working for our good. Just as those large ships pass in the darkness of night using navigational systems, we must trust God to navigate our lives through the darkness when we cannot see where He is taking us. He has never once made a mistake and there are no shipwrecked lives in God’s history.
I mentioned that I have on occasion spent all night sitting on the dock. When I do that, my favorite moment is when the sun peaks through the horizon and the dawn of a new day is beginning. Joy comes in the morning! Psalm 30:5 is another familiar verse that says “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Another way to look at it can be found in Isaiah 43:18-19. These are some of my favorite verses in the Bible and they state; “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
So, friend, are you looking out from the dock of your life and seeing only darkness? Are you wondering if God is there? Does it seem like you have been in this valley for a long, long time? Rejoice! God is still on the throne and He still loves you and He is right now making a way through just for you! God is working in the darkness and there will come a day when you will see that sun peak up over the horizon and your victory will be won! The amazing thing is that this is a guarantee straight from the Word of God and while we may not understand the trial or even the solution, we can understand that God knows what is best and He sees the entire picture of our lives from beginning to end.
Why not quit worrying and let God, the creator and architect of our lives, continuing to work on the building that He wants to construct? After all, the river keeps a rolling whether we are out there watching or not!