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You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, For You are my strength. Psalm 31:4 (NASB)

One day a Hummingbird got ‘caught’ in our garage. It apparently darted away when we came out of the house and flew into the garage. It couldn’t figure out that if it just flew down a couple feet it could go out the garage door. To rescue the small, frightened animal I took a couple butterfly nets and gently trapped it inside the nets and carried it to safety.

The small, frightened animal couldn’t have known that safety was just a few feet away. It couldn’t have known that the monstrous animals chasing it around its cell were trying to help it. I couldn’t have known that the nets that eventually captured it were meant for good, not evil.

It’s the unknown that scares us most, isn’t it? Like the Hummingbird we can go through life thinking that our safety and protection depends on our own ability to figure things out. But life isn’t predictable, and every net that captures us isn’t for our own good.

Relationships we seek may seem to be safe and fulfilling until the ‘honeymoon is over’ and anger, rage, frustration and abuse set in. Business dealings may seem ‘too good to be true’ and then we find out they were too good to be true and we lose our retirement. Friends and even lovers may pledge their allegiance and later we find out that they are saying things behind our backs, cheating on us or, in some other way, making us out to be the fool. Politicians and bosses make promises to us that turn out to be empty words.

It’s not the nets of entrapment we see that are dangerous, it’s those that are laid in secret that are our biggest threat. Like an animal walking through the forest, unaware of a pit hidden by brush, we fall into situations that catch us off guard. When that happens we end up at the mercy of our captor. The walls are too steep, the darkness to deep for us to find a way out. Desperation, fear and depression join with hopelessness to become our biggest enemies. There’s no way out.

That’s when your Heavenly Father steps in. That’s when God comes to the rescue. There is no pit too deep but that he can’t lift you out. There is no darkness to black but that his light can’t shine through it. The reason you are in the pit you are in is irrelevant. How you got there is of no concern to God, getting you out is his biggest priority.

Whatever pit you find yourself in today, God wants to lift you up. Whatever net has you entangled, he has the power to tear it open and provide your route of escape. You may have spent a lifetime refusing to acknowledge his existence or wandered away from him in the forest. None of that matters. His goal is to free you.

PRAYER: Father God, I’m trapped. The nets the enemy has thrown have hit their mark. The fear and darkness of this pit I’ve dug for myself are too steep. Please rescue me through your love, grace and forgiveness. Amen.

Where can I go to get away from your Spirit? Where can I run from you? Psalm 139:7 (NCV)

The internet has given us a new level of anonymity. Never before in history has it been easier to be ‘someone you are not’. It’s easy to hide your identity on social networking sites and be whoever you want to be. Want to be a 14 year-old girl, rather than a lonely 30 something male? There’s an app for that!

But hiding behind false identity isn’t something unique to the internet age. We’ve been hiding ever since Adam and Eve ate that forbidden fruit. Hiding from others and God isn’t new, we just think we’ve gotten better at it.

We can on a different face for each situation. We have our parent face, and our student face. We have a face we put on for our customer at the counter and a face we put on in the break room. We have a face we put on when we demand our own way and a face we put on when we’ve been humbled by our mistake. We humans have much more in common with the chameleon than we may want to admit.

Not only that, our enemy, the great Satan is the master of disguises. He puts on the face of religion to guide us away from the truth. He puts on the face of accusation to keep us defeated. He brings the face of worry into our lives to take our focus off God’s redeeming love and the protection of his Grace.

We fight the battle for ourselves on two fronts. On the one hand we can have so many different faces we struggle to keep them straight. Some of us have been using so many faces to hide behind we eventually forget who we are. We lose ourselves in a myriad of identities, none of which bring us the peace we seek.

On the other hand we fight against an enemy intent on bringing us to our knees in failure, agony and defeat. He uses people to remind us of our weakness and bring doubt into our lives. When necessary he uses his best weapon and infiltrates our minds with all sorts of lies about God, about whom we can trust and who we can’t, and most importantly, lies about the grace God offers us through Jesus Christ.

It is in the midst of this battle for ourselves we can find solace in knowing that our heavenly Father pierces through the darkness of deception to show us the light of his truth. The Psalmist reminds us that there is nothing hidden from our Father. We can’t hide behind some false identity, nor can we be deceived when we rely on his wisdom.

As one writer puts it, “We may elude the vigilance of a human enemy and place ourselves beyond his reach. [But] God fills all space—there is not a spot in which his piercing eye is not on us, and his uplifted hand cannot find us out.”

In the midst of the battle for who we are there can be a sense of urgency to get answers, to know the truth, to gain the victory. But our God is not governed by time. His victory is inevitable. His grasp of our needs is sure, he understands our weaknesses, his grace is sufficient for us.

Where can you hide from his presence? You can’t. Even if you wanted to. He sees every one of your faces. Better still, he knows the real you and is passionately in love with you.

PRAYER: Lord God, I thank you and praise you for filling every void in my life. There are so many dark corners of my mind that I run to hide in. It’s comforting to know your light penetrates even the darkest of places I go to. Protect me today from the lies I tell myself and the lies others try to make me believe. In Jesus name, Amen.

He makes known secrets that are deep and hidden; he knows what is hidden in darkness, and light is all around him. Daniel 2:22 (NCV)

I love to camp. There is just something about the great outdoors and falling asleep to the soft noises of the night…most of the time. Several years ago I was camping alone in a favorite, nearby state park. At that time I had a small two man tent, just big enough to be cozy and warm in. The site next to me was occupied by a couple of young men. I watched them occasionally from my campfire as I read. In a word, they were strange.

They arrived shortly after I did on Friday night and set up camp. From the start it was obvious they didn’t camp much as they didn’t look prepared to camp at all. Shortly after their arrival they put up pieces of paper on the trees in their sight and then walked away. My curiosity overwhelmed me so I went to check on the paper. They were just a bunch of weird designs. Nothing made sense about these two the rest of the evening.

That night I was awakened by a strange noise. It sounded like someone fighting. No yelling, but the sound of punch after punch finding its mark. Then…silence. A few moments later I heard something that sounded like a body being drug through the woods. Had there been a murder? Was I fully awake or partially dreaming? I didn’t know. I knew one thing though. I was scared!

The sound came closer to my little tent and I froze. I didn’t dare look outside, and didn’t know if I was in danger or not! Then a new sound. The sound of a nearby tree cracking and slowly falling to the ground. I braced for impact. Then, nothing. Complete silence. As you can probably imagine, I didn’t sleep much the rest of the night.

The next morning my friends next door left. I noticed a small tree had fallen on the other side of my campsite, several yards from my tent. To this day I have no idea what I heard or what went on that night. As I thought through things the next morning I ascertained that most likely the thumping sounds were made by a passing bear and the tree could have fallen victim to that bear or just fallen from natural causes.

Physical darkness can be fearful for us, but physical darkness is nothing like the fear we in broad daylight. Those times when we wonder what is going on in secret before our eyes. Evil surrounds us. We question the motives of friends and foe, family members or co-workers.

Making it through the times of emotional or spiritual darkness involves trust and trust, on the human plane is risky at best. We trust our lover and then find we’ve been cheated on. We trust our employers until we hear our jobs are on the line. We trust our children until the police car pulls into the driveway.

Daniel was faced with a challenge. His life depended on the answer he would give. I don’t think Daniel was worried. He didn’t trust the King. He didn’t trust the men surrounding him. But he did trust his God.

You may be going through a period of time in your life when you are confused or scared by what you see around you. You may be nursing the wounds of being cheated on, lied about or deceived. You may have lost faith in all mankind and even started questioning God. During times of fear and confusion trust is the hardest thing to grasp ahold of and the most important thing to cling to.

We may not always know what is going on in the ‘darkness’ of our lives. We can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our loving, gracious and merciful Father knows. We may have to endure a few times when we don’t understand what is going on around us. But he is a God of light. He doesn’t give light. He IS light. In his perfect time all things will be exposed. You can trust him to see you through the darkness.

PRAYER: Father God, I know these words are true, but it doesn’t make it much easier right now to be honest. I’m scared. I’m worried. I’m hurt. Everyone I’ve trusted has failed me, but I ask that you would empower me to trust you in the darkness. Amen.

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