The Dark Moments in Our Life
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch The Dark Moments in Our Life video.
Scripture: Genesis 37:1-13
I. Introduction: The Bible never guarantees a life free from suffering. But the dark moments of our life last only as long as necessary for God to accomplish His purposes. The Lord uses trials, difficulty, and pain to equip us for more effective service to Him. As you and I continue to trust and obey Him, God uses hardship to develop the character of Christ within us.
King David knew how to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. Although he was far from perfect, David had learned that only the Father’s love could satisfy his heart’s deepest longings (Ps. 63:3). The king passionately sought God through prayer, repentance, and obedience. From his example, you and I can learn how to enjoy closeness with the Father.
II. A Scriptural Illustration
A. Joseph, the son of Jacob, certainly experienced a great deal of suffering.
1. As his father’s favorite child, Joseph was hated by his ten older brothers (Gen. 37:3) and sold into slavery.
2. As an Egyptian captive, Joseph excelled in running Potiphar’s household. However, the man’s wife accused Joseph of molesting her, and he was sentenced to prison.
3. While in jail, he interpreted a dream and predicted that Pharaoh’s butler would be restored to his former position. Unfortunately, once he was employed again, the man forgot to help free Joseph. Only when Pharaoh had a mysterious dream did the butler remember the young Hebrew’s amazing gift.
B. How did God use suffering in Joseph’s life?
1. As a Hebrew boy, Joseph knew nothing about Egypt. Suffering was the tool God used to prepare him to serve as Prime Minister and save his family from famine.
2. In captivity, he learned the Egyptian language and culture. While living among people who believed in multiple gods, he discovered how to keep his focus on the one true Lord.
3. Joseph also learned how to obey authority and persevere despite injustice. As he rose to leadership—once under Potiphar and again under the head jailer—he learned that God was in charge no matter how bleak his circumstances looked.
III. God’s Purpose for Dark Times
A. The Father’s primary purpose for adversity is to conform us to the likeness of Christ (Rom. 8:29). He desires to mold you and me so that our character mirrors the nature of Jesus: the way He thinks,loves, and forgives. Through hardship, the Lord teaches us to depend on His presence instead of relying on our own strength. God’s love for us does not eliminate pain, suffering, and heartache. But it does guarantee that He will use it for His glory and our good (Rom. 8:28).
B. The Lord uses suffering to teach us to keep our focus on Him. We learn to trust that He will bring good out of our difficulty, and that rebellion only lengthens the duration of our trials. In the middle of a dark time, it may look as if the adversity will never end. But God loves you and will complete His plan for your life somehow—if you trust and obey Him.
IV. The Duration of Dark Times
A. Adversity lasts only as long as necessary for the Father to accomplish His purpose in our lives (1 Corinthians 10:13). God limits the heartache and pain we experience.
B. Think about the restrictions God set on Joseph’s adversity. He allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery, but didn’t let them kill him. The Lord permitted the Egyptian authorities to throw the young man into prison, but prevented them from taking his life. God restricted the length of time that Joseph suffered. He will limit your hardship as well.
V. Surviving the Dark Moments
A. How did Joseph stay faithful despite adversity?
1. He remembered the prophetic dreams that had predicted his leadership role (Gen. 37:5-12). Even though he didn’t at first understand their full significance, the revelations gave him hope.
2. He lived out the teaching his father had instilled in him about God. Pagan nations had numerous deities, but the Lord revealed to the Hebrews that Jehovah was the one true God. What Joseph knew about the Lord sustained him through difficulty.
B. How can you survive the dark moments of life?
1. Trust God. Unless you rely on Him, you will not overcome difficulty.
2. Read His Word and allow the Lord to speak to you. As you meditate on the Scriptures, you will be training your mind to think as God does. The more you think Christ-like thoughts, the more you will act in a holy manner. That means you must dedicate time to reading and studying His Word. If you set aside time for listening to Him, He will lead you through every situation you encounter.
VI. Conclusion: When you face a time of darkness in your life, don’t miss what the Lord has in store for you. Devote yourself to seeking Him in prayer. Reprogram your mind by reading His Word and meditating on it daily (Rom. 12:2). Don’t give up, even when it seems that your pain will never end. Trust God to guide you through the dark moments of your life, and He will do amazing things in and through you.