Some years ago our church graciously gave my husband a 40-day sabbatical that started on Christmas Eve. During the first week of January we went to a lovely mountain home in South Carolina to rest. This home was located high up in an area known as “The Cliffs.” We were staying at the end of a section of homes at the end of the road. We could look out the large windows in the house and see the tiny lights of the houses below us twinkling in the darkness.
The weather was quite blustery; the wind was howling when we unloaded our belongings from the car and the snow was flying. After we got our things moved into the house, my husband headed back down the mountain to go get our younger daughter who had been staying the week with her sister. He would be gone about an hour and a half.
While he was gone I made supper and then put it in the oven to stay warm until they returned. I then decided that this would be a good time to snuggle into the comfy sofa with a cup of hot tea and work on a Bible study I was doing. The wind continued to howl outside the windows as I studied, banging things against the house and making all kinds of imaginary people stomp right outside my doors! Then the wind got so strong that the power flickered, then went out! I put my hand up in front of my face and couldn’t even see it! It was pitch black! I grabbed my cell phone and hit the power button to activate the light, then ran into the kitchen to look for a candle and matches. Aha! Here was a lovely scented candle up on the counter. Matches…matches….? Nowhere. Then I remembered that the stove was gas. I got the wick lit at the burner, then made my way back over to the sofa relieved at the light this little candle brought to my very dark situation!
That illustration is what discernment does in our lives – it brings light to an uncertain situation. Discernment is the ability to distinguish between two things using the wisdom of God’s Word. Discernment allows us to see issues clearly. We so desperately need to cultivate discernment so we will know light from darkness, truth from error, best from better, righteousness from unrighteousness, purity from defilement and principles from pragmatics.
How does a person get discernment? You ask God for it. Ask Him for it before you get into a crisis. It would have been better for me if I’d have prepared for the storm before the lights went out! If only I had gotten the candle lit prior to the crisis moment of darkness I wouldn’t have been so frightened. We can’t plan for a crisis in our lives, but we can prepare ahead of time by seeking God’s face for discernment from His Word. We must store it up in our hearts so it will be ready when those moments come that threaten to shake us at the very foundation of our faith. Proverbs 22:3 tells us that a prudent person looks ahead and sees the possible danger in a situation and they do what they can to avoid it, but the foolish person plunges ahead and suffers the consequences.
One wise way to prepare ahead of time is to memorize Scripture. We will all face death at some time, in the life of a loved one, or our own. What Scripture do you know by memory that will sustain you at that time? If you’re married you know you need God’s wisdom to be a godly wife. What passages are you meditating on when it gets hard to love your husband? We are all tempted to fly off the handle and “give so-and-so a piece of our mind.” What do you tell yourself from God’s Word when that temptation comes? Ladies, storms are coming. We must prepare ahead of time so we’ll have the Light for the darkness!
Abigail responded to her husband and to David in a way that was consistent with her heart. She didn’t fall apart, come unglued, or go have a crying spell. She acted in a wise discerning way. Nabal never changed, and the fool in our life may never change either. But we can remain a pure, courageous, discerning woman that glorifies the Lord even in the midst of a crisis.
By the time my husband and daughter got back to our mountain retreat the lights had come back on, though they continued to flicker often. There was nothing to fear now though- there were lit candles throughout the house. I wouldn’t be caught unprepared again. I pray that I’ve learned that same lesson in my spiritual life!