The wilderness is a harsh place. It is very bleak and cold and can seem devoid of hope. It is also very dark, as dark as some nights. Sometimes we can be in the wilderness for a long time, and the night can seem without end. To make it worse, we’re often alone. Our friends abandon us, but it can feel as though God has left us as well. Our prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. Our health doesn’t get better; there is no improvement in our finances; we’re still stuck in our addiction; the right person hasn’t come our way. We feel sure God has forgotten us.
He hasn’t! We may not see it, but he is doing his most remarkable work in us during this long “night.” He is building our faith because “without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). “But I have faith,” you say.
Are you sure? See, it’s very easy to trust God when everything is going well in our lives, but it is extremely difficult to do this when everything isn’t. We will never truly grow in faith until we BELIEVE that in the darkest hours of the night when we do not see him, do not hear him, do not feel him, he is STILL there by our side.
Like many other Biblical heroes, God taught David this lesson too. Considered a hero by everyone after he slew Goliath and led the Israelite army to victory after victory, David suddenly soon found himself on the run from King Saul. He was in a literal wilderness, having to sleep in the desert and hide in caves. He cried out to God about the unfairness of it all, but there was no relief forthcoming. It was like God, who had anointed David as king, has forgotten all about him. But, then, through his distress and despair, David began proclaiming the goodness and greatness of God, believing that there would be an end to the long dark night. And there was. And when the night ended, David thanked God, saying, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
I could say more, but I will let David speak for me because his words will encourage us far more than anything I could say. I have modified it for brevity and better understanding.
David writes: “When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” But then you hid your face, and I was dismayed. I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear my cry, O Lord, and be merciful to me; please, help me. ” And, then, you turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Lord my God, I will praise you forever” (see Psalm 30).
You will get through the night as David did, my friends, because long though it might be, and painful though it might get, dawn ALWAYS follows the night. And with it will come rejoicing because you will see that the Lord, our God, has done magnificent things through this time in the darkness. I know you can’t see it now, but you will. He will turn your mourning into dancing! And you will praise his name forever!
But don't wait to praise him then. Praise him now.