Thursday, March 21, 2002
Bessie, one of the cows on the small farm where my wife grew up, was ready to give birth to a calf. But somehow she managed to get out of the wire fence and wander off into the woods to have her calf where she wanted to. Which meant my wife's dad - and his two girls - had to go out into the dark woods that night to try to find them. Dad decided they could cover more ground by dividing up. They were to fire three shots if they found Bessie. Unfortunately, they only had one lantern - and my wife didn't have it. What she remembers is how scary it was to be walking alone in those dark hills, not knowing if there was a panther, a bobcat, or a poisonous snake within striking distance in the dark. Finally, Dad fired those three victorious shots in the air - he had found Bessie and baby. But only after a walk in the dark that one young girl would never forget.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Walking the Dark Hills."
My wife said, "That night I realized I wasn't really walking those dark hills alone - I knew Jesus was by my side every step of the way." That wasn't her last walk through life's dark hills - there have been the deaths of many people she loved, dark financial valleys, the loss of a baby, worries over children, overwhelming mountains of responsibility, and serious medical emergencies. But she will tell you - she has never walked any dark stretch alone. Because of that one person who is there when no one else can be.
Maybe you're walking some of life's dark hills right now - you can't see what's out there in the dark...it's scary...you feel awfully alone sometimes. Then our word for today from the Word of God may be just what you need. In Isaiah 43, beginning with verse 2, God says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned...for I am the Lord your God...your Savior."
That's the kind of anchor relationship with God that will sustain you no matter what you lose - no matter what hits you. He will walk with you through even the darkest stretch of all - the final mile called death. And whatever is bigger than you are, God is bigger than it is. But it may be that your dark seasons have shown you that instead of being close to God, there's something between you and Him. That something is your sin - all the wrong things you've done because you're running your life instead of God running it.
The issue is not whether you believe in Him - it's do you belong to Him? There's only one way to do that - to put your total trust in Jesus Christ as your only hope of belonging to God. Jesus came here and walked the darkest, loneliest stretch anyone has ever walked. He carried all of your sin and mine when He died on the cross - and He literally took our punishment, our hell, so the wall between God and us could come down.