Out of the darkness and into the light

By Helen Norvell

It has been a couple months since I’ve written anything, so I’m going to start by sharing a bit of personal information. I have poor health and I live daily in moderate to severe pain. Most of the time I try to not let it get me down, but sometimes it does. I go into my dark place and have myself a good old pity party. I do try very hard to keep others from knowing about it, but you can’t hide anything from God. In these times, I still know who to go to for help. I look in the word of God. Just as Elijah has his pity party with God in attendance, so do I.

I start with Ecclesiastes. There are some very good lessons to be learned here. Life is very short; just a vapor really. It’s what we do with the time the Lord has given us that matters. What we do for the Lord counts. Anything else we may put our minds and hearts into is futile. It’s seems to me that Solomon spent his time on a lot of futile endeavors. Whether good or bad, all will be revealed in the end. So love the Lord and keep His commandments. Live for the Lord now. Use the gifts He has given you for His glory now, before the vapor goes up in a poof. This is all good but it sounds like Solomon is as depressed as I am.

I’m still in my dark place, feeling sorry for myself. I realize I have to shake this off. I need something to lift my spirits. I need a good laugh.

Does God have a sense of humor? I began to meditate on some of my favorite stories in The Bible. My warning, these I find funny. These are some of the best stories in the Word with wonderful pictures and God’s sovereignty, righteousness and so much more. In telling these, I want you to see how God gave me what I needed, when I needed it.

So I started reading the story of Moses and the burning bush.

Exodus 4: 2-4
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’
“A staff,” he replied.
The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.”

If there is one thing in this world I am more afraid of than anything else, it’s a SNAKE. The only good snake is a dead snake! I put myself into the story as you will see. If my staff had turned into a SNAKE, I would have been off that mountain, across the field, in the tent, and hiding behind Zipporah for protection, in the twinkling of an eye. I got chased by a black racer as a child. No snake is going to catch me! Truly, the Lord would have had to drag me kicking and screaming back up that mountain. Then He tells Moses to pick it up (at least He said by the tail). I would have been begging and pleading. “Please Lord Jesus, No!”

So you can see, right? I put myself in the story. I can just imagine how I would react. This makes me laugh and the darkness is not quite so dark now. I’m not out yet so on I go.

I always loved the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Nebuchadnezzar threw them into a blazing furnace because they would not bow down and worship a statue of him. He bound them hand and foot and threw them into the furnace.

Daniel 3: 24-25 - Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”

There I am in the midst of them. I’m watching Nebuchadnezzar’s face. Ha, Ha, what do you think of that O king? I am so proud of my Lord. I laugh and laugh at the astonished looks on their faces. The darkness is getting lighter and lighter.

Now I go to one of my all-time favorites. It’s found in 1 Samuel chapters 4-7. I don’t have the space to write out the whole story so I’ll just give you an overview. This is when the Philistines steal the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites. The Philistines are fighting the Israelites at Ebenezer. They thrash Israel. Israel brings the Ark of the Lord into the camp. When the Philistines come back after Israel again, they defeat them and steal the Ark. Huge Mistake! It’s not as if they don’t know what the Ark is; 1Samuel 4:7- The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “God has come into the camp.” And they said “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. They knew what God had done to the Egyptians. Now I ask you, why would you take the Ark? I can tell you, God did not like their actions. God decides to show them some of His power. From Ebenezer to Ekron God passes judgment.

He strikes the Philistines with hemorrhoids or tumors if you prefer. You have heard of “hit them where it hurts”! He also strikes them with confusion so they are killing one another. Shouldn’t have taken the Ark! So, from Ebenezer, Aphek, Ashdod, God is judging these Philistines. What is so funny to me is Ashdod. Can you believe the pagan people put the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD in the temple of their idol Dagon? Really, are you crazy? They do put it there and the next morning they find their “god” on his face before The Ark. Ha, ha! Then they set their “god” back in his place. You can actually do that with your “god”? The next morning, good old Dagon is on the floor again. This time his hands and feet are cut off on the threshold of the house of Dagon. Oh my goodness, this cracks me up! These Philistines want to get rid of The Ark, (wonder why?) They send the Ark on to Gath and God strikes them with the tumors and confusion. They send the Ark to Ekron where they find out how to send The Ark of the Lord home. They make five golden tumors and five golden mice as guilt offerings to God. They make a new cart and hitch it to two nursing cows. They set the Ark on the cart and set the five golden tumors and five golden mice in a box beside the Ark and send it home. Whew! I laugh and laugh every time I read this story.

The darkness has passed and I am in the light.
As my Mother used to tell me, there is always someone worse off than you are. Be thankful. I haven’t been thrown into a blazing furnace, or had to pick up snakes, or put in a lion’s den.
As for Dagon, I can’t help but remember a verse in Romans.

Romans 14:11 - “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

Paul had a thorn in his side. God chose to leave it there. Perhaps it is the same for me. Either way, God’s grace is sufficient for me. His Word has the answer for all life’s problems, great and small.

We are not of the darkness but of the Light.