Doing Good in the Dark
Sometimes we have to go ahead and do the best we know to do, even though we can’t foresee how matters are going to turn out. Our faith never has a finer moment than when we find ourselves “in the dark” but we go ahead and do what is right anyway.
I am absolutely convinced that it “does good to do good.” The law of sowing and reaping can be counted on just as surely as the law of gravity (Galatians 6:7,8). But it may not be given to us to KNOW the good that is produced by our actions. For one thing, it may not take place until after we are dead and gone; but even if it happens in our lifetime, it may not come to our personal attention.
Faith says, “Go ahead and act in the direction of goodness and truth, even if it may not be clear to you how God will use those actions to accomplish His purposes. Just act in the confidence that He WILL use them.” Anything less than that is not faith in God but a reliance on human understanding and foresight.
“Conservatism” is sometimes a good word, but I’m afraid most of us are far too conservative when it comes to acts of goodness. Before we act, we want assurances, guarantees, and promises up front. We refuse to act until we can see all the way to the end of the road.
But in the real world, such information is rarely available to us. Much of the good that we do has to be done in the dark.
If Abraham had thought as we do, he would never have left his home in Ur (Hebrews 11:8-10). Without being told exactly where he was going and precisely how the Lord was going to use that journey to accomplish His purposes, Abraham would have stayed at home. Fortunately, however, he trusted God. The only assurance he needed was that leaving Ur was God’s will – he didn’t need to know what “good” it would do.
In Ecclesiastes we are given this good advice: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (11:6). God has given us no specific guarantees. He has simply said, “Do the best you can and leave the results to Me.”
So good deeds can’t wait for perfect operating conditions. And they can’t wait until we completely understand how a certain action is going to produce a certain result. When it comes to doing good, ALL WE NEED TO KNOW IS THAT A PARTICULAR DEED IS THE BEST THAT WE CAN DO RIGHT NOW, BASED ON OUR MOST HONEST APPRAISAL OF GOD’S WILL.
So let’s leave the future in God’s hands and just patiently continue to do the best we know to do. That’s the meaning of faith.