March 5, 2018
"And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." Isaiah 45:3 (NLT)
My husband and I lead a weekly after-school Bible club at our children's school. But one Friday, I had a big problem. I couldn't talk. I held a sheet of paper which read, "Sorry kids! Miss Arlene can't talk today. I have laryngitis!"
I held another sign, "Does someone have a joke they want to share with the group?" After a few jokes, the rest of the club was led by another adult.
Have you ever found yourself in an awkward situation like this - unable to perform or complete a task because of something beyond your control?
That voiceless experience at Bible club ended up repeating itself week after week. My voice didn't fully return for months. Eventually I could talk, but not without my voice quickly becoming hoarse and sore.
A friend and spiritual mentor texted me a prayer to encourage me in my season of silence: "May God give you treasures hidden in the darkness."
I had not heard that expression before, but it spoke to my heart. I looked it up in the Bible and found it in Isaiah 45:3, "And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness - secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name."
In Isaiah chapter 45, God is addressing the Persian King Cyrus. Even though Cyrus was a heathen king, he was serving God's purposes to free the Israelites. The promise of "treasures hidden in the darkness" referred to gold and silver which had been buried underground. King Cyrus was driven by wealth, but God had another purpose. He wanted Cyrus to know that He was the Lord, the God of Israel, the One who called him by name.
Sometimes we think the treasures of life are earthly riches, pretty clothes, job promotions, awards, or in my case, a healthy voice. But perhaps an even more valuable treasure is knowing the all-powerful God of the universe is working in the darkness.
Now just because you know God is working doesn't mean you won't feel frustrated along the way. There were plenty of days I felt frustrated when I couldn't talk. It was time-consuming to type out what I wanted to say instead of just saying, "Let's leave in 10 minutes." I missed going to social gatherings, coffee dates and events since it's awfully hard to be with people without talking.
I brought notes to the grocery store to explain my situation to the clerk, so he or she wouldn't think I was being rude. It made me consider with great admiration the deaf community who cannot readily communicate to those who don't know sign language. With my experience, I gained the treasure of empathy.
One day, trying to make light of the situation, I texted a friend, "Without me talking, the house has never been so quiet."
She texted back, "I need that! So I don't have to hear Mom, Mom, Mom all day. It can be Dad, Dad, Dad!"
I replied in jest, "You should try it!"
There's always something to laugh about - even in the darkness. When adjusting to an inconvenience, physical limitation or a relationship problem, we must look for things to be grateful for. There are secret riches to mine, such as faith, trust, perseverance and patience. Whatever you're facing today, may it work out to bring glory to the God of Israel. He's the One who brings hidden treasures to light.
What secret riches are hiding in your situation? The circumstances may be beyond your control, but they're not beyond God's. He can turn things around for your good. Usually, it just takes a little time.
Lord, thank You for working in my life, even in ways I don't realize. Give me wisdom to see what You're doing in the darkness. I place my trust and faith in You alone. I praise You for Your faithfulness and love for me. May those around me watch my life and know there is a God in heaven. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Peter 1:6-7, "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." (NIV)
Isaiah 30:15a, "This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, ..." (NIV)
Ever wondered why it can be so hard to keep our hearts and eyes fixed on Jesus? Join us for the next First 5 study, Prone to Wander: The Study of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah. In the first portion of our study on the Minor Prophets, you'll read the constant plea of the prophets to the Israelites: "Come, let us return to the LORD" (Hosea 6:1). The study starts March 12. Click here to learn more!
Having a hard time finding treasures in your marriage? Visit Arlene Pellicane's website for your chance to win a free copy of her book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are some hidden gifts God might be working into your life right now?
Think of a challenge you're facing. What can you thank God for in the midst of this challenge?
Join the conversation! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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