When Reinnie Barth was appointed a missionary to Germany, following World War Two, he knew he was going to serve in a difficult place during a tough time. But this dedicated man had no idea just how draining his task would be until he arrived and began counseling those whose world had collapsed around them.
Lines of desperate people seeking help began forming early each morning at his door and continued to do so well into the night. Meals were brought to this committed counselor so he wouldn’t have to leave his post and could continue his mission of compassion without breaks as long as possible. Finally, the inevitable happened: the one who had come to help found he needed help. Mental and physical exhaustion pushed this caring man over the edge, causing him to experience a total breakdown.
Years later, sitting in my office, Reinnie described the dark days that followed.
Listening, I could almost feel the fatigue he had experienced during those long hours that had drained his energy and affected his health. Then he shared one of the keys to his recovery. Help had arrived in the form of a quote that met him in his darkness and gave him hope: “Never question in the dark what God has shown you in the light.”
These thirteen words directed to anyone in darkness helped my friend rediscover Biblical faith builders that had been his guiding lights during better days and now he was able to reclaim their stabilizing power for his current crisis. Resting his faith on these life changers of his past gave him peace for the moment and confidence for the future; restoring his emotional, spiritual and physical strength and enabling him to help other struggling ones do the same.
Most of us encounter dark days and facing this fact enables us to see how important it is to embrace the bright days so we can draw strength from them for those when the sun refuses to shine.
Do you feel unloved?
Hurry back to the bright day when you first realized how much God loves you. Think again of the time when you responded to His offer of eternal life (John 3:16).
Do you feel alone?
Revisit the great day when you learned that you’re Lord promised He would never leave nor forsake you and that nothing could separate you from His love.
Have financial clouds darkened your view of the future, causing you to wonder how you’re going to survive your present money crunch?
Remember the feeling of peace that came the day you conquered your financial fears by accepting God’s promise to a church of poor but generous believers that He would supply all of their needs out of His abundant supply (Philippians 4:19).
During a dark time in Martin Luther’s life, he wrote: “If I did not see that the Lord kept watch over the ship I should long since have abandoned the helm. But I see Him through the storm, strengthening the tackling, handling the yards, spreading the sails. Let Him govern, let Him carry us forward, let Him hasten or delay, we will fear nothing!”
Faith conquers fear and makes every dark day bright.