A five-year-old boy was visiting his aunt overnight. At bedtime he asked her to leave his door open and the light on in the hall. Surprised, the aunt said, “But why? You’re not afraid of the dark when you are at home.” To that the boy replied, “I know. But there it’s my dark.”
I guess we all have our own dark, don’t we? Each of us has that place of comfort wherein we feel safe, even though we know that even in that place everything isn’t perfect and things sometimes go awry. Like that little boy, we figure that if we are going to have problems, we at least want them to take place in our comfort zone. To use a basketball analogy, being down by 20 points on your home court is one thing, but being down by 20 points on another team’s court is something else.
This explains why a lot of people voluntarily choose to remain in less-than-ideal situations year after year. It’s not that these people can’t see or understand the problems inherent to their situations; it’s just that they figure that as bad as things are there, they are surely worse out there in the unknown. We even have an idiom that sums up this whole mentality. The idiom is: “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
However, the plain truth is that God seems to make it His personal mission to call us out into places of unknown dark, places that might just be replete with devils we don’t know. Consider the following examples from scripture:
- Abraham (Abram) was content to live with his family in Ur, but God wanted him in Canaan to begin the nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3).
- Moses was content to live with his family as a shepherd in Midian, but God wanted him back in Egypt to lead Israel out of their Egyptian bondage and into Canaan (Exodus 3:1-10).
- Esther was content with her place as the Persian ruler Ahasuerus’ queen in Babylon, but God wanted her to play the key role in sparing the lives of the Jews under Ahasuerus’ rule (Esther 8:1-17).
- Nehemiah was content with his place on the royal staff of the Persian king Artaxerxes in Babylon, but God wanted him in Jerusalem to lead the project to rebuild the walls around the city (Nehemiah 1:1-11).
- Amos was content with his life as a sheepbreeder/orchard tender in Tekoa of Israel’s southern kingdom, but God wanted him in Bethel to prophesy to the people of the northern kingdom (Amos 7:10-17).
- Mary was content to marry Joseph and lead the normal life of a Jewish wife, but God wanted her to give birth to Jesus by way of the virgin birth (Luke 1:26-38).
- Andrew, Peter, James, and John were content with their lives as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, but Jesus wanted them to be apostles (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:1-11).
- Matthew (Levi) was content with his life as a tax collector, but Jesus wanted him to be an apostle (Matthew 9:9, Mark 2:13-14, Luke 5:27-28).
- Philip was content to continue ministering in Samaria, but God wanted him to witness to an Ethiopian eunuch at Gaza (Acts 8:26-39).
- Ananias was content to go about his business at Damascus, but God wanted him to minister to the recently converted Saul (Paul) of Tarsus, who had come to Damascus (Acts 9:10-19).
- Peter was content to devote his ministry exclusively to Jews, but God wanted him to minister to Gentiles as well (Acts 10:1-48).
- Jude was content to write an epistle on the subject of salvation, but God wanted him to write one on the subject of apostasy (Jude verse 3).
I’m sure that each of these Bible characters approached his/her God-ordained assignment with a high degree of trepidation. After all, when we really understand the facts of each case, some of the assignments were downright terrifying! To the credit of these people, though, they all stepped out of their comfort zones, left their dark behind, and headed out to deal with unknown devils. And why did they do it? Simply because it was God’s will.
I don’t know where this post finds you right now, but it just could be that God is calling you to forsake the comfort of your dark and head out into some new area of service for Him. If this description fits you, all I can tell you is that you must mind Him. Will there be unknown devils out there in this new area? Probably. Will the endeavor require a great deal of faith on your part? No doubt. But will God walk with you into the new dark? Absolutely. Like a good shepherd who skillfully guides his sheep into fresh pastures, God will guide you into that new place where He wants to use you. Your job is simply to trust, obey, and follow Him.