The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Light of God’s Word Shines

April 3, 2012

Ernie Baker

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Ernie Baker

The Darker the Night

There doesn’t seem to be a day in recent years without bad news. Whether it’s Israel and Iran and threats of more war in the Middle East, or talk of economic meltdown here in the U.S. and around the world, it can feel overwhelming. On one particular day last June, when it seemed like the whole Middle East was on fire with riots and war, and Europe was facing huge economic issues, a news reporter said something like, “I feel like the whole world is falling apart, could somebody please post a picture of a puppy?”

It’s easy to understand that heart cry, isn’t it? I would like some good news too.

The Bad News

For followers of Christ, there are also the challenges to our belief system. It seems like much of what we hold dear is being questioned or ridiculed. Just look at some of the posts after a news story about homosexuality to see what is being said about Evangelical positions on marriage.

For those of us in ministry, there are the seemingly increasing counseling issues. I might just be getting more sensitive as time passes, but this year already I have been moved to tears numerous times by stories of family break up, conflict, financial needs, and sexual abuse. I’m feeling pretty challenged by all the brokenness around me.

The Good News

How should we view these days? What should our perspective be? For years I have preached this little principle. “The darker the night the brighter the light of God’s Word shines.” Isn’t this what Scripture teaches when it says things like, “your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105)? In times of darkness, truth stands out and lights the way!

I actually think our best ministry years are ahead. As culture continues to deteriorate, people will be looking for answers. Let me give you an example. My wife and I have been married for almost 31 years. In recent years, we have increasingly heard this question, “How do you do that?” If that’s happening with us now, just think of when our kids have been married fifty years! They might be the cover story of their local paper! I believe people will search for answers because their belief system will be revealed as not working. Maybe this is why people are more open to truth in times of crisis. What they believe about life isn’t working and it seems our Lord uses this to prompt some to search for answers.

Add to this that the psychological community seems to be in increasing disarray, with the former editor of the DSM IV (Al Frances) regularly criticizing the new DSM 5 and thousands of psychologists signing petitions asking the APA to reconsider the release of the DSM 5 next year. It sure does seem that the biblical counseling movement is possibly being set up to provide answers to hurting people.

Cursing the Darkness or Lighting Candles

Years ago I read a piece by the syndicated columnist Cal Thomas (a follower of Christ). What he wrote about cultural deterioration proved to be perspective changing for me. This is a paraphrase, but it was something like, “Evangelicals have a choice to make; will we curse the darkness or light candles?” I determined to be one that tried to show people the life changing light of God’s word instead of just cursing the cultural darkness.

So, let’s do what Paul urged Timothy to do in 2 Timothy 3, in one of the most depressing chapters in the New Testament. After many verses of bad news concerning false teachers and cultural deterioration he said:

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed… How from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

And then the famous verses:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God, may be competent, equipped for every good work.

God’s Word claims to have enough to equip us to handle dark days. I believe it!

So, we probably have some really challenging and exhausting ministry years ahead. And we are going to need to trust the Lord for strength, but think of how rewarding they will be as people look for answers and lives are changed. The darker the night the brighter the light of God’s Word shines. Will you light some candles with me?

Join the Conversation

These considerations logically raise the question, “How can biblical counseling be more evangelistic?”

4 thoughts on “The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Light of God’s Word Shines

  1. In response to the question,  “How can biblical counseling be more evangelistic?”, I’ve found that some of the most challenging and rewarding counseling I’ve been called on to do provides opportunity to show unbelievers how the how the gospel of Jesus shines divine light upon their darkness and confusion.  They must be helped to understand that seeking answers apart from the gospel is like staggering around in the darkness groping for relief that only results in more hardship and pain – much like people after a midnight earthquake will frantically crawl in the dark across broken glass trying to get out of their house.   The gospel alone provides light because it reveals the root problems involved, promises supernatural power for internal change through Christ, and doesn’t shy away from the complexities of sin in all of it’s manifestations. 

    After giving these kinds of folks an opportunity to share with me what’s troubling them I pray for a gracious and compassionate way to ask them a question to the effect, “Did you know that the problems you’re experiencing are precisely the kinds of things you should expect to experience if you believe that the Bible is true?”  That usually opens the door for me to demonstrate from Scripture that sin in all of its dimensions is what alerts us to the problem of our inherent estrangement from God.  Then by building a solid bridge from their suffering and need to the divine provisions in the gospel I can offer them true hope.   It’s not a quick-fix false promise that ignores the complications and entanglements of sin, but one that offers assurance that by addressing the core heart issues involved, a number of the complicating relational and practical issues will solve themselves.    

    Certainly, I’ve found many challenges to evangelistic counseling, not the least of which is the fact that most often men and women without Christ are driven to us merely as a last resort to find some kind of relief from their problems – not the radical reorientation and renovation of their life by Jesus!  Most folks just want advice on how to clear away the broken glass and debris after the earthquake so they can become comfortable once again crawling around in their darkness.  

    Thank you, Ernie for your ministry to the biblical counseling community and for your ministry to me.  Keep shining His light!

    And by the way, here’s a picture of a puppy just for you.

  2. I have thought this for a few years now. Whenever I become overwhelmed by all of the conflict here on our soil & in the other countries, God whispers to me, The darker the night, the brighter my Word will shine. I was contemplating this very thought this morning when I decided to try to find some scripture to back it up, when I found your article. Thank you for being “the light”.

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