home > Pastor’s Desk > 2017 > March 31st > When Things Look Dark


Benaiah was having a bad day. After all, it’s bad enough just being outside when it’s really cold and snowing and you’re not dressed appropriately. That’s not fun. But that wasn’t all he faced. Not only was it snowing, Benaiah was in a deep pit. I’m not an authority on being thrown down a pit by my enemies, but I can only imagine being in a deep pit, possibly for days, is not fun, but being in a deep pit on a snowy day ill-dressed is really not fun. But that wasn’t all Benaiah faced. He was stuck outside on a snowy day, down a deep pit, and sharing it with a man-eating lion! I’m no authority on being outside in the snow down a deep pit with a ferocious lion, but I’m guessing that it’s really really not fun! If things had ever looked dark for Benaiah, I think it was this day! But Benaiah discovered what I have also found: that when things look dark they never stay that way.

¶ And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two heroes of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.
First Chronicles 11:22

reepicheep-w-aslanBenaiah reminds me of Reepicheep (the warrior mouse), the hero of the Chronicles of Narnia series. Despite all the odds stacked against him, despite everyone around him looking glum and bleak, despite being with a lion, he always sees the positive in the dark situation he’s facing and then a way through it! It’s as if his confidence, that everything will turn out alright, becomes a light to brighten up these kind of dark days.





A snowy day.

In a pit. 

With a lion.

Moments later.

A dead lion. 

Out of the pit. 

Walking home through the snow.

Benaiah knew that attitude was everything when it comes to navigating dark days. Attitude is that inner disposition which shapes how we approach life, tasks, people, and difficult circumstances. The more virtuous qualities of attitude include courage, persistence, endurance, hopefulness, forgiveness, faithfulness and tolerance. These can never be developed in times of comfort and ease. In fact, it’s in times of distress and darkness that we can truly grow for it is then that these positive virtues are called for. And even though God is light, surprisingly, He is often found in darkness

The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
Exodus 20:21

Dark times come to all people. Dark times make us feel as if God has abandoned us. Dark times summon our most natural (which are also our most negative) responses: despair, gloom, despondency, and introspection. But God has ordained for darkness to also challenge us to step up, rise up, lace up, and to look up! We read in the Old Testament that God seemed to have left the young nation of Israel in the dark. The Scriptures reveal that God had left some of Israel’s enemies in the Promised Land for Israel to conquer in order that they might learn to fight. Dark times are God’s times for His people to learn to fight!

He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.
Judges 3:2 NLT

Benaiah would have been in the darkness for sometime. But his attitude was that of a victor not a victim. Our Dark Times can be brought on by pain and sickness, debts, unemployment, relationship drama, the mistakes of our past. 

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.
First Corinthians 10:13 NET



Benaiah managed to get out of his deep pit. Sometimes we find ourselves down a pit. Benaiah must have initially tried to climb out of his pit. The worst kind of pit to be in is the one you think you can’t climb out of! Every parent hates to see their children suffer or get frustrated with difficulty. It is our most natural urge to step in and simply do for our child what they are struggling to do for themselves. But every parent knows that if we do that we are depriving our child of the necessary grit to solve life’s small problems so that their problem-solving muscles can continue to develop to the level of one day being able to handle life’s more serious problems.

It reminds me of the young boy watching caterpillars emerge from their cocoons as butterflies. After watching with fascination the first cocoon in his backyard begin to wiggle, then shake, then repeated deny the young butterfly its escape, eventually after what seemed like forever, the cocoon eventually gave way and the exhausted butterfly emerged through the tears in the now discarded cocoon. As it poked its wings out, then rested, as its wings spread like a sunflower to the sky, its tiny head then legs and body appeared as it stood on the edge of its now torn cocoon. The marvelling boy watched on. Then with a herculean first flutter, the butterfly took off for its first flight. Still marvelling at what he had just seen in his backyard hour of wonder, he noticed another cocoon beginning to tremble. Unable to bear to again watch the suffering and trial he had just witnessed, his young and tender heart moved him to help the helpless butterfly. As the cocoon began to shake, he ran inside to the kitchen and brought back his mother’s sharp paring knife. He carefully cut the cocoon where he had seen the other one rip and soon he saw the butterfly begin to emerge. But this butterfly was not panting with exhaustion. Feeling quite proud of himself and quite chuffed that he had been able to assist this newborn creature, he looked on expectantly almost hoping for the relieved butterfly to make its immediate flight path to his nose and whisper its thanks. Instead, the butterfly emerged from the cocoon, spread its wings and then fell to its death. Despite his best intentions motivated by compassion, he had denied this second butterfly what the first butterfly had benefitted from. In its desperate struggles to be free from cocoon, the first butterfly was growing in strength with each attempt to the point that by the time it emerged from cocoon after having struggled for so long, it had now developed its muscles sufficiently to be able to flutter its huge wings. Your pit may actually be your cocoon.

Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
Colossians 4:12



Roald Amundsen's four companions at the South Pole in 1911The best way to handle snowy days when your clothing is ill-prepared is to keep moving. Stay still in the snow and you’re in trouble! If you’ve ever read the story of Captain Scott and his team of explorers racing to be the first ones to reach the South Pole and bring further glory to British Empire, you’ll know that he and his team were pipped by the Norwegian adventurer, Roald Amundsen, and his four companions. Amundsen used dogs to move through the snow and ice. Captain Scott travelled by foot. Having discovered that they had been beaten, Scott and weary team began to trek back to base. But they made a fatal mistake – they stopped moving. All of them died as a result.

If your world seems cold and loveless at the moment, keep moving, keep reaching out, fight the urge to withdraw and feel sorry for yourself!



Again, I’m no expert on being attacked by a lion. But according to the Smithsonian Institute, the one thing you must never do is run away!


The Bible says that our enemy goes about like a lion seeking those he can devour by his lies, temptations, and intimidation designed to induce fear and rob the believer of hope.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
First Peter 5:8



Being outside too long on a snowy day, down a deep pit, with a lion, would be a dark day for anyone. But Benaiah got through it. It meant he had to: (i) keep moving forward, (ii)  try, (iii) stand up to his enemy. You may be in a dark time (or about to have one). I know what this is like and what I am saying to you is not just a theory for me. Keep moving forward by taking up God’s Word each day and prayerfully reading it. No matter how hopeless things look and despite how deep the hole you’re in looks, keep doing what you can to get out of it. And when it feels like the enemy of your soul is about to tear you shreds, surprise him by showing him just how big and big-hearted you are as you reach out to others and help them despite your own woes. And remember, God is often in the darkness not hidden by it.


Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This year we have been laying a foundation for knowing God and then each Sunday building upon it. Throughout June we are focusing on how knowing God enables us to find our joy in Him and consequently to discover that He enables us to find joy in our relationships with others. But sadly, for many people who have vowed to love, serve, and follow Jesus, this has not always been easy to do. This is why the current sub-theme of humility is critically important if someone desires to truly experience joy in each of their various relationships with others. 


In the past few months, we have been hearing in Church and also by reading the Pastor’s Desks that through the Psalms and by the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, we can know God more. The Psalms show God as our Shepherd, God’s character is unchanging, we can be still and know Him, and that He is poetic. The Fruit of the Spirit reminds us that God is faithful, gentle and kind, and that we need to stay close to Him in the same way a baby gets nutrients from its mother through the umbilical cord. Knowing these things, we can become more like God as He helps us outwork His character in our lives. Philippians 3:10 challenged me in this regard some time ago.


What comes to mind when you hear the word Rules? For some, it is a welcome relief to all the chaos surrounding us. Rules can provide comfort, safety, stability, predictability and protection. But for many others, as soon as you hear the word rules, it causes you to sigh loudly, followed by the instant urge to do the opposite. It can cause an immense sense of frustration along with that feeling of being boxed or caged in. Then some rules are plain silly as they make no sense, or there appears to be no apparent reason for why the rule/s exists in the first place. 

The Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing FruitThe Vine and the Umbilical Cord: Life, Abiding and Bearing Fruit

Jesus’ allegory in John 15:1-17 of the vine and the branches provides a beautiful picture of the intimate and living relationship available to those who would abide in Him, the true Vine; and it illustrates how naturally the Holy Spirit is able to produce fruit in the lives of those who are willing to be branches abiding in the vine.

Knowing God Through The Fruit Of The Spirit

I’m sure you can picture an occasion where food delicacies are served and someone is there who has lost all sense of decorum to the point of being rude to get to the food before others and is unable or unwilling to engage in any level of conversation for the sake of finding the choicest of foods. Maybe that was you or me on occasions. Or an All You Can Eat challenge restaurant. It is a picture of complete lack of self-restraint (especially if Homer Simpson is involved). Whilst we are away, I am looking forward to visiting a town (Kenilworth) with a bakery tourist attraction that sells 1kg doughnuts. I’m not sure what will happen there, but I can imagine many have risen to a challenge.


Australia is now grappling with a national crisis — the violent abuse of women by men. Every four days in Australia a woman is being murdered [Source]. The sad probability is that she was murdered by “a current or former intimate partner” [Source]. But added to this alarming statistic is the even greater and more horrifying statistic of number of women who are experiencing abuse – physical; sexual; verbal; financial; psychological – daily. In fact, it is so prevalent that most people working in this arena know that most domestic abuse incidents in Australia are not reported. Abuse is oppression. And since the Bible is so clear and consistent in its condemnation of oppression of the vulnerable you would naturally assume that this national crisis was being thundered and denounced as a great evil from the majority of pulpits around our country at the moment. This assumption is further reinforced by the guesstimate that one-in-four women in every Australian church is regularly abused in some way by a man. But I suspect that it is not.


My cat, Lola, had a beautiful, fluffy, soft coat. I had her for 13 years so I knew her very well. She loved a cuddle and snuggling at night sleeping in the crook of my arm. She loved me but with others she could be a rascal, hissing or swiping her claws. She never scoffed her food but was a grazer. It was common to hear her crunching her biscuits for a midnight snack and she loved ice cream. She loved hiding in cardboard boxes or in the pantry. She particularly hated the car evidenced by her continual mournful meowing til she got out. As I knew her, she also knew me. She knew I would feed her and give her pats or cuddles. When I called her she knew my soft voice, my touch, my smell. She knew my growly voice when she had done the wrong thing. When I’d take her to the vet she would be still in my arms as the vet examined her and vaccinated her. If she was injured or sick I would look after her.


The Bible is an amazing book. As we look through the book of Psalms we can so unbelievably clearly see God at work. And also most poignantly, this Psalm – Psalm 22 – prophetically points to, and closely mirrors Jesus and the events of the cross mentioned in the New Testament. This Psalm is well over 1000 years prior to Jesus.There are some well known passages of Scripture that stand out as being prophetic promises of the Messiah. These prophetic words show us that God is Omniscient; He knows everything. The first Messianic prophecy shows that the seed of the woman would eventually defeat the devil.


home > Pastor's Desk > 2024 > April 12th > THIS IS HOW AN EXPERT SUCCESSFULLY FOUGHT SPIRITUAL WARSThe distance between the spiritual dimension and our earthly-material dimension is a lot thinner than most people realise! This means that there is a direct...


So many thriller movies are just funny. Of course they are not meant to be and many people would find them more like nightmare material. The producers would be horrified to see me giggling at some of their ‘scary’ bits, but it’s just the way I’m wired. I see more of the special effects than the story line and I see the absurdity of the scenes that lack the necessary rules of consistency instead of the fear factor they hope. I once watched a movie where the victim lay dead bleeding from the mouth but the make-up blood had not dripped to the ground with gravity, but rather, accidentally dripped up. The whole movie just became hilarious from that point on.