"And I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight....I will give thee treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places that you may KNOW that I am the Lord that calls you by name..." Isaiah 45: 2-3
God gave me this verse 7 or 8 years ago. I do not remember the circumstances around which I first discovered it, but what stood out to me most was that in darkness.....in our darkest hours...God would give us treasures. Now you don't normally think about discovering riches or something of value in the midst of a dark spell in your life. You are normally concerned with just getting THROUGH it and surviving, seeking answers and trying to deal with the pain. Yet God says that it is in those very hard places in our life that He chooses to bless us, to give us "treasures" and "hidden riches". It appears that we cannot attain these treasures or riches anywhere else. Not in the sunlight of beautiful, peaceful days. Not in the warm glow of the sunshine on our face when joy spills over. No, these treasures are only revealed in the darkness of the pit...the very place we least want to be.
Yet, in this life, we WILL have tribulation. So God has chosen those places to bless us and to reveal aspects of His character that we would have never learned in the sunshine. Several years ago I began writing a series on Treasures of Darkness and would like to share a few of those with you here........
One of the darkest places anyone can be is in a waiting room. I don’t know anyone who likes to wait, but waiting in a waiting room is agony, especially when you are unsure of the outcome. Have you ever been to the doctor, knowing something was wrong and fearing the worst? You sit in that chair and think about what it will be like an hour from now when you know the truth. Will you be the same or will your life be changed forever. Your heart pounds, your palms get sweaty, maybe you even shiver or shake just a little and you find it harder and harder to breathe normally. Maybe you are not waiting on news for yourself, but for a loved one. Maybe you are waiting on the doctor to return from surgery to let you know if the surgery was a success or not. Sometimes it seems the waiting will never end. You wait and you wait and you wait. Tests are ordered and you are sent home, still knowing nothing. The tests come back and they are not conclusive, so more tests are ordered and again, you wait and wait and wait. The "not knowing" is killing you.
Some times we find ourselves in God’s waiting room. It is just as dark and often as uncertain. We don’t know why we are there and we have no idea how long before the answers come. We are trying to hold on, trying to trust Him, but the longer He delays with the answers, the harder it becomes to wait.
We found ourselves in just such a waiting room back in the early 80’s. We were living in our first house, a small house on a corner lot. It was a very special house, but the neighborhood was declining and we knew we had to move. We began to talk about finding another house. There was an older home not far from us, a larger home with a big back yard and lots of trees. Larry had learned that the man was about to put the house up for sale. He went and talked to him and the man was in no hurry, so he agreed that he would not list it, but when we could sell ours, we would buy it. We got ours in tip top shape, ran an ad in the newspaper and sat back waiting on the people to flock to our sweet little house to buy it. No one called. I was shocked!! After several days, we finally got one call and made an appointment for them to come and take a look. I got everything ready. No one showed up. I was NOT a happy camper!! After several months of no luck, we decided to list it with a realtor. Again, I thought it would happen immediately. No such luck! We had a few lookers but no takers. Finally, after what seemed like months of waiting, we had a contract!!!!!! We were SO excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The next morning Larry went up to the house we were planning to buy to visit the man and make him an offer. He was not gone too long until he returned. When he walked through the door, I knew that something was wrong. I could see it written on his face. "What’s wrong", I asked. It took him a minute or so to answer and all he could say was "We’re not supposed to buy that house." "What ? Why?" I asked incredulously. "I can’t explain it. All I know is that is not the house we are supposed to buy. "
Larry really could give no explanation except that when the man came to the door, Larry said that instantly he knew we were not supposed to buy that house. Well, that was fine with me. I certainly did not want to be any place that God did not want us. But now what? We had just signed a contract on our house!! We had to go SOMEWHERE. So we called our realtor and told him to find us a house. This took on a whole other aspect now. I had thought we were going to fix up an older home. Now we began looking at new houses. We saw one we really liked. It was not a lot bigger than ours, but it was NEW!! However, there was a contingency on it, so we would have to continue to wait on it. MORE waiting was not what I had in mind, but……… for a NEW house, I could be a little more patient. In my mind, I had completely moved into that house and decorated it!! I was SO excited!! This was better than I dreamed of.
Then our contract on our house fell through. The roller coaster took another nose dive. I rode that coaster for the next year and a half. It was as if God took us to every possible door, opened it just a crack and said "What do you think?" to which we would excitedly reply, "Yeah! God! That is great, better than the last offer" and then God would slam that door shut and say "Nope. This is not the one for you!" I spent a lot of time in the Word and on my knees, trying to make sense of it all. I learned a lot during those 2 years about God’s waiting room.
Finally, we had explored every option except building our own house. That had been our dream…to build our "one of these days" house. But we were so young and didn’t think there was any way we could do that at that time in our life. Yet God had opened and closed every other door. As we began to explore the possibility, we realized that, yes, that was exactly what God had in mind. It was the BEST idea yet and we could hardly contain our joy as He led us to the lot that would one day be the site of our new home!! God had saved the best til last and along the way, taught me a lot about waiting. My friend David had a lot to say about waiting. "Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord."" (Ps. 27: 14) It takes courage to wait when you do not know what is around the corner. Only God can strengthen your heart and help you as you wait on Him to reveal His way.
Another good friend, Isaiah, gave me the words I most needed and clung to, however, as we waited on our housing miracle. "Therefore will the Lord wait THAT (here’s the object of the exercise) He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will HE be exalted that He may have mercy upon you…blessed are all they that wait on the Lord,." Is 30: 18. This verse gave me hope because it gave me a reason why God was not answering my prayers as quickly as I wanted. Isaiah told me that God wanted to be gracious to me. Honestly, sometimes I didn’t feel like "gracious" was the word I would have used to describe how it felt while I was waiting on Him. SLOW would have been more like it. Why was it taking God so long? Why did we have to ride that roller coaster up and down so many times? But, looking back, I can see that God was testing us to see if we would just give up and do our own thing, or continue to wait on Him. We kept waiting and He blessed…He was GRACIOUS to us. But as much of a blessing as it was, it was not just for our benefit. It was so that HE could be exalted and glorified in that blessing. We didn’t deserve that.
I could hardly believe we were building it even after it was almost completed. My good friend, Patt, would come over and she was SO excited for us. I can remember her asking me "Do you just keep pinching yourself to be sure it’s real? " She also asked me several times if I were not excited because she said SHE seemed more excited than I was. I told her that I was just being cautious. I didn’t want to get too excited and too attached, just in case things did not work out after all. I said that up to the day we moved in. I just couldn't believe it was happening!! God is SO good!!!!!!! He definitely deserved ALL the praise and Honor and Glory for our being in that house!!
One of the biggest pitfalls of being in a waiting room is that you get so caught up in waiting for results that you miss all the treasures God has for you on the journey. Well known author and speaker, Jennifer Rothchild, describes this best in her book Lessons Learned in the Dark,
"...there are three kinds of waiters.....first there is the worried waiter. If you took a snapshot of her you would see her wringing her hands and pacing the floor...then there's the wishful waiter. She never lives in the present moment because her energy is tied to WHAT IF, not to WHAT IS. She spends most of her time speculating on what it will be like when the wait is over, and until then she just aimlessly tries to get through each day. Finally, there is the wise waiter. She’s focused on God's face, not on His hand..not on what He will do for her, how He will take care of her situation, or when He will end her wait. She is waiting only on God, and she is present, peaceful and productive. What kind of waiter are you? Are you present where you are, or do you pine away over things that are not? Are you wringing your hands, or bending your knees? Are you waiting on GOD ALONE or waiting for the waiting to end? Many of us spend our lives "in the meantime" waiting for something we want or need.....We endure the wait, [just to receive the prize]...Sometimes the wait is more difficult for the prize is greater. For some of us the prize is healing, For others it is deliverance from suffering, for many the lifting of heavy financial burdens. The prize is often the thing that keeps us faithful while we wait. But what if all our joy isn't reserved for the award ceremony? What if there is something deep and precious in the in-between times? If our focus is on the prize ALONE, we can't help but see the waiting as a trial and when we do, we can miss the joy of the journey and overlook the TREASURES along the way."
It is important therefore, that while we are waiting, we do not lose our balance by trying to look behind us at how things used to be nor by craning our neck to see what lies ahead. Rather, we must look UP into the face of the one who holds our future and holds our hand along the journey.
Remember no matter what type of waiting room you are in, you are never in it alone. God will give you everything you need while you are there. He will give you strength, courage and perseverance under the pressure. Just press into Him. HE will strengthen your heart until the answer comes IN HIS TIME and along the way, He will reveal to you "treasures of darkness" that will be worth all the waiting.
If God has shown YOU treasures of darkness, I'd love to hear from you. Please contact me through the COMMENT tab below and share with me how God has given you Treasures of Darkness.
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