I want to talk about one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Isaiah 50:10-11. Though I don’t usually like the Amplified Bible, I think they do a good job on this one.
“Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His Servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.
Behold, all you [enemies of your own selves] who attempt to kindle your own fires [and work out your own plans of salvation], who surround and gird yourselves with momentary sparks, darts, and firebrands that you set aflame!—walk by the light of your self-made fire and of the sparks that you have kindled [for yourself, if you will]! But this shall you have from My hand: you shall lie down in grief and in torment.”
I get such a great visual from these verses. I can see someone trying to walk in total darkness. They are utterly lost and cannot find their way. In my mind they hear voices coming from every direction, telling them to follow them. Underneath the cocaphany is another voice, the voice of Jesus, the servant of God. His voice will gently guild them though an entire lifetime in the dark if they would only listen and follow His voice.
Instead they light a torch and try to find their own way. They lead themselves to their own suffering and misery.
St. Paul sums it up in 2 Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith and not by sight.” How many of us actually do this? Do you remain in the darkness? Do you stay in that place of vulnerability, where you are not in control, and you don’t have the answers? Do you live in the darkness of faith? St. John of the Cross called it luminous darkness.
Do you listen for the voice of Jesus and follow it? Or do you listen to all the other voices out there that scream for your attention? The President and the other politicians, news anchors and political pundits, celebrities, advertising, TV personalities like Oprah and Dr. Phil, the list goes on and on, but all want your attention, all want you to follow them. More seductive for the Christian are the voices at claim to speak in God’s name. Pastors and priests with their own agendas. (I’m not saying that all clergy will mislead you, don’t take me wrong.) Who do you listen to? Who do you really follow?
Most of us in America will light our own torches. We don’t like the dark and we sure don’t like the idea of someone telling us what to do. We are fierce individualists. We want to do it our way. My way or the highway, right? We may claim we follow Jesus, but do we really? Do we walk by faith or do we just say we believe and then do it our way and hope that by going to church on Sunday and voting Republican we will get to Heaven when we die?
To live a life of faith is to live in uncertainty. You don’t know where the master will lead you. He may send you to Africa to be a missionary. He may send you into the slums of your own city. He may tell you to sell everything that you have and give it to the poor. Ask yourself, are you ready for that?
I lived my life my way. I was lighting torch after torch to find my way out of the dark. It truly only led me to pain, a decade in prison kind of pain. I learned my lesson the hard way. I will stay in the dark and trust in the servant of God. I will follow Him and His voice. My family thinks I am crazy I’m sure. My old friends don’t really understand my new faith. I live humbly, depending on others and not doing it all myself, and do what God wants me to do. In doing so I don’t know what will happen next, but I know a peace that defies all understanding.