Treasures in the Darkness, Part 2
“I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.”
Isaiah 45:2-3 ESV
My younger sister Jane Anne closes her recollections of traveling with me into the Land of Grief with these conclusions:
“Was I adequate for the task of ministering to her? Definitely not! Time and time again I felt totally incapable of dealing with her needs. Though most of the time, I believe I was asking more of myself that she was expecting of me. All she wanted was my love and my presence along her journey through the darkness. That usually meant just listening to what she was feeling and thinking. But just listening was excruciating, and not having answers was maddening.
“Through my tears and frustration, God led me to places I had never been and showed me things I never would have seen. My spiritual life has depth I had never experienced. I know better who I am because I know better who God is. The reality of death has brought God closer than ever. I see Him in everything now. I have confidence that He will do what I cannot do, and I know that His ways are beyond me. How grateful I am that He chose me to be the vessel from which He poured out His love to her. Little did I know on that life-changing night that the treasures found in darkness, which God was planning for her, would be mine, too.” (Treasures of Encouragement, Pages 178-179, P&R Publishing, used with permission)
Is God calling you into the darkness with a broken friend? There are treasures waiting for you when you die to self and go in His strength.
LIFE GIVING ENCOURAGEMENT
Have you noticed that when God calls us to certain actions, treasures and blessings follow obedience? In a previous devotional we saw that God’s call to pray without ceasing, leads us to deeper intimacy with Jesus as we grow more dependent on Him. When we obey His call to weep with those who weep and go into the darkness with a friend, we discover treasures in that darkness that we would not have experienced otherwise.
Is God calling you to offer deeper life-giving encouragement to a shattered friend or family member? Remember the power of prayer to guide you and teach you how to lean into the wisdom of Jesus as you go into a place that may be foreign to you. If God calls, He equips. Trust Him to guide you as you go.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the "Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Speaking Hope"audio resource so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Autism. . . a term many are not familiar with. . .
In this one hour long interview two sets of parents share how they learned their children had a form of autism and how that diagnosis impacts their lives. The vulnerability and honesty of these two families will equip and encourage other parents as they navigate the foreign land of autism. Included in this interview is a conversation with a sixteen-year-old young man who has Asperger Syndrome. This is a profound and strong presentation that confronts questions such as:
How has having an autistic child affected your marriage or other children?
What did people say or do that wasn’t helpful?
What did people say or do that was helpful?
What about the church? What can church families do to help families with autistic children?
What would you as a father of an autistic son say to a father who has just learned his child has autism?
What would you as a mother say to another mother? And much more.
This interview will speak hope and help to families with autistic children. It will also help equip others to come alongside of these families and help them walk this pathway with hope.