A Deep, Dark Place



From the LORD comes deliverance. Psalm 3:8 (NIV)

Decades ago, when the kids were still with us, we visited Indian Caverns. While I’d long grown out of my fear of the dark, my heart picked up pace and my breathing quickened as we toured the underground cave. It was dark. It was dank. It was scary, especially when the lights were extinguished so we could “see” and comprehend the deep, utter darkness—a darkness so profound I couldn’t see shapes, forms, or the hand in front of my face.

As I read Psalm 3 for my devotions this morning, I realized the writer, King David, was in a deep, dark place when he penned those words. His own son had betrayed him and usurped the throne. David had to flee for his life.

“How many are my foes!” he lamented. “How many rise up against me!”

I identified with his words. Not because I have foes (except one—see 1 Peter 5:8), but because I have woes. Because there are situations in my life that make me feel I’m “up agin it” with no way out.

You, too?

“How many are my woes!” we lament.

David didn’t wallow in his woes too long, if he wallowed at all. Because only two verses into this psalm, he’s turned the corner. He does this often in his writings—finds himself at the crossroads of Despair and Hope, and he chooses Hope—with one little word: “but” (other versions use “nevertheless”).

I call this “The ‘But’ Factor.” When in despair, factor in hope.

How? Let’s look at Psalm 3.

First, know that God is a shield around you (verse 3). Picture this. Nothing can touch you that doesn’t first go through Him, that He doesn’t allow. Everything that reaches you serves His purposes.

Second, know that when you cry to Him, He will answer (verse 4). Be sure of it. How do I know? Because He says so—right in His Word. He said it. I believe it. That settles it. God always keeps His promises. And because He has answered me in the past.

Third, you don’t have to stay up all night wrestling with worry. God’s got this: “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me” (verse 5). Repeat this verse to yourself—quietly or aloud before you close your eyes for the night. Use it instead of counting sheep. (Who counts sheep, anyway? More likely we count our woes.)

Don’t let fear take control (v. 6). Over and over God’s Word tells us to “fear not,” “do not be afraid.” Fight that fear with your faith. Don’t have much faith, you say? Remember Peter. How much faith did it take for him to walk on the water? Just enough to take one step. (Actually, just enough to fling one hairy leg over the side of the boat.)

Fourth, pray specifically for deliverance from whatever it is that troubles you (v. 7). God may take away the trouble, smooth it out, provide a way out, or see you through it, giving you the peace and calm assurance that He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

And finally, know that true deliverance comes from one source, and one source only: the LORD—El Shaddai, Adonai, El Roi (the God who sees), Jehovah Jireh (the LORD will provide).

Are you in a deep, dark place?

Remember, you’re not alone. God is with you.

Your deliverance, beloved child of God, is imminent and sure.

Thank you, Father, that even in the deep, dark places of life, You are there and You provide deliverance. Deliver me today from worry, fear, doubt, uncertainty, and indecision. Bring me into the Light of Your presence and love. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Psalm 3

OTHER SCRIPTURE TO READ: Psalm 46; John 1:1–5; John 8:12; Revelation 21:23, 25; 22:5

Photos courtesy of pixabay.com; CC0, public domain, no attribution required 

Information Overload


Photo by Kate Scofield
Photo by Kate Scofield

“Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple.” – Jesus to His disciples, as quoted in Luke 9:3 (The Message)

I often wonder if technology, instead of making life easier and better, has made it more complicated and stressful.

I grew up during the B.T. Age—Before Technology. I didn’t need to know the up-to-the-second weather forecast. Back then we didn’t have instant access to Doppler radar and cell phones and Internet. If we wanted to know what the weather would be, we had our radio, which sat atop the refrigerator, Eleanor Schano and Bob Kudzma of Channel 4 and Channel 2 respectively, and my mother’s hands and feet, which ached when there was weather moving in. Or we simply looked out a window.

Weather forecasts were broadcast every half hour, along with news headlines. The news reports were given on the hour. Local—by local I mean Pittsburgh and Johnstown—TV stations devoted an hour to the news every evening and a half an hour at noon. If disaster struck, regular programming was cancelled to bring us the details as they unfolded.

That part hasn’t changed, but our exposure to and the availability of up-to-the-second worldwide, national, and local news and weather has. I wonder if we haven’t become information junkies. If we haven’t become addicted to being fed (bombarbed would be a better word) so much information and all of it available with a simple click of a mouse.

Life was simpler B.T. We had worries and concerns, yes, but not on the level we do today. We now can know about every dire event that happens worldwide almost the instant it occurs. I don’t know about you, but I believe this has raised my stress level. Life on a personal level is stressful enough, but factor in worldwide crises, and stress levels become unmanageable (no matter how we saw we’re managing quite well, thank you).

Now we have so many channels to choose from, so many devices, so many remote controllers, so much technology to keep us informed and crazy.

There’s no time to lie on your back in the yard, watching the clouds float across the sky. We’re too busy surfing the channels or the ’Net in search of the latest news, the latest game results. Or we’re checking our emails, Facebook or Twitter to get the latest on our friends, while ignoring the friend or loved one in the flesh right in front of us.

I believe we as a society are on information overload. And the result is more stress, more unhappiness—and an addiction for more info.

I’m not saying to can all the technology. It has its benefits. What I’m saying is we need more balance. We need to control the amount of incoming data to a manageable level, rather than allow it to control us.

In my opinion, “manageable level” is “need to know.” Do we really need to know all this stuff?

We carry it with us 24/7. We worry. We fret. We stew. We lose out on happiness in the here and now because carrying around all this unnecessary information is sucking the joy right out of us.

What did Jesus tell His disciples when He sent them out on a mission? And remember, they didn’t even have telephones back then. They had to figure things out on their own because they couldn’t check back in until they returned.

Jesus said, “Don’t load yourselves up. Keep it simple.”

If we followed His advice, imagine how lighter, freer, happier our lives would be!

 I confess, O Lord, that I’ve become an information junkie and often run on overload. Remind me of Jesus’ invitation to come to Him when I’m weary and heavy laden, and He will give me rest, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28–30). Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Luke 9:1–6

How do you manage technology? Do you think we’ve gone overboard? Leave your answers in the comment section. Thank you.