Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path – Psalm 119:105

Have you ever experienced difficult and dark days? Hard days that darken your my heart and soul? 

I have had some of those dark days. I can’t really say what the details are, but I’m not even sure that those details even matter.

The fact is, we all have dark days.

Days where our plans crumble, people in our lives disappoint or hurt us, times when our dreams fade, our hearts are betrayed, and promises are broken.

“Life” just happens and at times, the dark comes with it.

Today, I am on the other side of the last set of “dark days” and hope is beginning to shine through once again. I have discovered that if we are not careful, the darkness can engulf us. But this time as I look back at the road I traveled in those dark days, I am shocked at what I see.

A Surprise

My personal quiet time remained intact through it all. Oh not because I am some super saint or because I am super spiritual. In the moments when He seemed quite silent, I continued to seek Him out.

Why am I so surprised by this? I am a believer right? Isn’t that what believers do?

I must confess that when the dark times came in the past, I did not first seek out the Lord. The darkness seemed to take me by surprise and I was overwhelmed by it to the point I could not see out of it.

As I pondered this further, I realized that getting through the dark times successfully requires one thing… believing and staying faithful to the scriptures even when we don’t feel like it.

How do we do this? Let me share with you what I’ve learned.

Make it a HABIT

Make it a HABIT to Set aside time to meet with the Lord alone.

A habit is defined this way:

1.  A settled tendency or usual manner of behavior

2.  A behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition

3.  An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary   (This one is my personal favorite)

Some researchers say that it takes at least 21 days to develop a habit. So, the first thing that needs to be done is to focus on establishing a habit of meeting with God every day.

I don’t mean just reading the Word, but really communing with your heavenly Father. 

He longs to spend quiet moments with you in prayer and solitude.

It will take some discipline, but believe me, the benefits of this time spent with the Lord far outweigh any sacrifice you’ll be making.

It will be easier to start forming this habit during good times.

That way when dark times come, you will continue to meet with Him, because, as my favorite definition states, it will become second nature to you.

For me, that time is in the morning; I wake up, put the coffee on, wash my face, then with coffee cup in hand, I sit with Jesus.

The habit of meeting with Him was so established that this time when the dark days came, even when I didn’t feel like it, I met with Jesus. I awoke, brewed the coffee, and found myself sitting where I sat every morning for months before.

I remembered what to do when my mind and spirit always couldn’t. I read even if I didn’t “feel” anything from the scriptures knowing that they would strengthen me in the midst of this darkness.

Be sure you have a plan.

Practical Advice for You

I have found it is better to have a little structure when reading the Word.

Whether it be a “OneYear Bible” or a devotional through Psalms or even a study through a book of the Bible, it’s best to start with a plan.

I knew what I would be reading each morning.

The staff here at CCSB go thru the Bible in one year.

Every morning for the past year, I have systematically read through God’s word.

So even when I did not have the energy to think through what I would do from day to day, once I sat in my chair with His word in one had and my coffee in the other, I knew I would be okay.

I didn’t have to think about what I would read. It was there for me just as He was there for me.

I honestly believe these two things kept me from spiraling into deeper darkness during those days. Looking back, I know that God met with me every morning.

I believe that finding myself in His Word daily, even though I didn’t “feel”earth shaking beneath me, it kept me grounded… even if it didn’t seem that I was experiencing that.

I have learned that when I near the end of my current plan, then I need to begin thinking about what my next plan will be. To be left without a plan leaves me in danger of doing absolutely nothing. And that is not a plan I want to consider!

What About You?

Have you established the habit of getting into God’s word and spending time in His presence?

Do you know exactly what to do and where to go to continue to acknowledge God as Lord in dark times, even when your mind barely musters up enough energy to think of what to feed your family that night?

Do you have a plan?

When you sit to meet with God, do you have a plan or do you just choose from day-to-day?

Are you studying a book of the Bible? Are you working through a devotional? Is there a Bible study you’re doing?

Dark days are hard enough to deal with when they come around.  Be sure you are fully equipped by the Lord so you do not fall prey to our adversary.