Point of Inspiration: Devotionals for Personal and Corporate Worship
Robert D. Pace
There is a legend of three horsemen traveling at midnight. As they crossed a dry riverbed they heard a voice pierce the darkness saying: “Dismount your horses and pick up the stones.” Without hesitation they fell to the ground and scrambled for stones. Moments later, the voice said: “Remount and continue your journey. Tomorrow you will be both sorry and glad.” “Sorry and glad”? They couldn’t understand but they traveled on anxiously awaiting daylight. When the sun arose, they reached into their pockets to examine their take and discovered they had picked up diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. That’s when they remembered the voice: “You will be both sorry and glad.” And they were! They were sorry they had not taken more, but they were glad they took what they did!
The Bible provides a similar story about a Persian king named Cyrus. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah God said: “I will give you the treasures of darkness and wealth stored in secret places” (Isaiah 45:3). While there is contextual meaning to this verse there is also personal application for you. When God says he will “give us the treasures of darkness and wealth stored in secret places,” it means He will open our eyes to things that we would otherwise overlook so we can possess what would otherwise remain unclaimed. But how do we make this acquisition? Well, it must be understood that the “treasures of darkness” are stored in . . . of all places . . . darkness. And the “wealth of secret places” are hidden in . . . of all locations . . . “secret places.” But while these treasures surround us, God is not trying to hide them from us, He is hiding them for us! However, there is a stipulation. You must be willing to enter dark and lonely places and search, because God, too, hides His treasures behind locked doors, inside vaults, within hidden chambers, and in secret places.
When God calls Christians into the darkness, He invites them into a deeper experience with Him. This is the repeated testimony of Scripture:
It was the “secret place” of Midian where Moses saw the burning bush and heard God’s call to deliver Israel.
Later, it was under the thick cloud covering Sinai that he received the Ten Commandments.
Abraham, the Father of our Faith, entered Covenant with God at night.
Elijah stood inside the dreary confines of a cave when God challenged him to continue his prophetic ministry.
In the simplest of terms, David said, “You visited me in the night” (Psalm 17:3).
And although Jesus performed most of His miracles during the day, He found strength to bear the Cross praying in the darkness of Gethsemane.
Do we willingly retreat into desert places to find God’s treasures? No, in most cases, God plunges us into isolation and forces us into the dark:
John Bunyan spent twelve years in prison but that’s where he scripted one of literature’s greatest books—Pilgrim’s Progress.
Fanny Crosby, blind, penned more than 8000 hymns.
Then there was George Young, a small-town pastor who supplemented his income as a carpenter. At times, he barely had enough money to provide for his family, but with sacrifice he built a modest house. Shortly after its construction, a group of bandits torched his house and all was lost in the flames. But from the ashes of sorrow he wrote these words:
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water‘s cool flow bathes the weary one‘s feet,
God leads His dear children along.
Some through the water, some thru the flood,
Some through the fire, but all thru the blood.
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song.
In the night season and all the day long.”