The following booklet was written during the early 20th century by B. McCall Barbour, Edinburgh, Scotland and was published in Great Britain. The booklet was not copyrighted and is reprinted here in its complete form. You will find the material very helpful and comforting for your dark days.
"Days of darkness still come o'er me, Sorrows' paths I often tread."
THIS is more than a mere poetic expression. It is a universal experience. Happy,
indeed, is the soul who can add: "But the Savior still is with me, By His hand
I'm safely led."
"Dark Days!" How varied, multitudinous, and menacing they are! Each, as it comes along, has its own peculiar characteristic. Nevertheless, all have one thing in common. They are all "dark"!
They are dark in their circumstances, and they will be dark in their consequences, in the measure that the presence of "the Savior" is eliminated or not reckoned upon. That His presence is with His own, even in their darkest days, is certain, for He has said: "Lo, I am with you alway" (Matthew 28:20). His promise cannot fail. However, it is only to the eye of faith that He is discernible, and our endurance through the darkness will depend upon our" seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27).
When, assuredly, we know that He is our Savior, and that we are His possession, purchased by His precious blood (Acts 20:28); when His presence, by His Spirit, pervades our hearts, and the reins of our life are in His hands; then we may confidently count upon His constant companionship, even when we do not see or feel. Him near. No matter how dense the enshrouding darkness may be, He is with those who are His, everywhere, and all the time.
"When I found Him in my bosom,
Then I found Him everywhere-
In the bud and in the blossom,
In the earth and in the air.
And He spake to me with clearness
From the silent stars that say:
“When you find Me in my nearness
You shall find Me far away.'"
(WALTER C. SMITH, D. D.)
That "dark days" will be in our lot, is very definitely indicated by our Lord
Himself. Has He not said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation"? (John 16:33)
What form the tribulation" may take, in our individual experience, we may not
tell. Such will, however, constitute our" days of darkness." But these need not
be comfortless, nor without encouragement and compensation. Nor will they be, if
the presence of our Lord, though unseen and unfelt, is nevertheless recognized,
believed in, reckoned on, and relied upon. Thus, to the trusting heart, in days
of calamity there will be calm; in days of perplexity there will be peace; in
days of sickness there will be solace; in days of temptation there will be
triumph; in days of bereavement there will be blessing; 'in days of gloom there
will be gladness; in days of sorrow there will be song.
The abiding presence of “Him who is invisible" to mortal eye, will impart to us the "joy unspeakable," “for the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).
Blessed, indeed, is the fact that, though the darkness of circumstances may for a season, becloud our sense of His presence, no darkness, however dense, can hide us from His all-seeing eye. "Yea, the darkness hideth not from Thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee" (Psalm 139:12). "Thou God seest me" (Genesis 16:13) should ever be our confidence, our consolation, and our joy I How sweet to know:
“The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure;
For, groping in my misty way,
I feel His hand; I hear Him say,
‘My help is sure.' "
in the faithfulness of His promised presence ever with us, the" dark days" that
come into our lot need not unduly concern us, for" His presence is Salvation"
(Psalm 42:5). As we abide in His will, and so pursue the path of His divine
direction, we shall find therein the sufficiency to meet our every need. We
shall be preserved from every pitfall, delivered in every difficulty, relieved
of every burden that, otherwise, would break us down. Depending upon God, in
spiritual conflict, defeat is inconceivable. Victory is sure. "Days of darkness
still come o'er me.
But the Savior still is with me."
Pause I Think of it! Meditate upon it! “The Savior-with me." "The Savior" “the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). "With me"! What more is needed? "I am with you." "I am with thee to save thee" (Jeremiah 15:20). "With me" in the midst of the darkness, however deep it may be, however distressing, however dire. "With me" to comfort me; to calm me; to encourage me; to protect me; to preserve me; to provide for me; to teach me; to train me; to purify me; to perfect me; to meet my every need.
With me to save me. "To save me” from fear; from fret; from frenzy. "To save me from doubt; from despondency; from despair. "To save me" from fault; from fainting; and from fall. "With me "not to save me from the darkness; from the suffering; from the persecution; from" the fiery trial." But, "to save.” me in these; to keep me safe as I am passing through; and that mine may be the blessed experience of him who said, "In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee" (Isaiah 43:2).
HOW increasingly precious the" thought becomes that "the Savior still is with me” "with me"! How personal, how individual, how intimate is this relationship! How amazing is the fact! How surpassing is the privilege- "with me”!
"What can it mean? Is it ought to Him
That the days are long, and the nights are dim?
Can He be touched by the griefs I bear,
Which sadden the heart and whiten the hair?
About His throne are eternal calms,
And strong glad music of happy psalms,
And bliss unruffled by any strife--:'"
How can HE care for my little life?
And yet, I want Him to care for me,
While I live in this world where sorrows be.
When the lights die down from the path I take;
When strength is feeble and friends forsake;
And love and music which once did bless,
Have left me to silence and loneliness;
Then my life-song changes to sobbing prayers,
And my heart cries out for a GOD WHO CARES.
When shadows hang o'er the whole day long,
And my spirit is bowed with shame and wrong,
And I am not good, and the bitter shade
Of conscious sin makes my soul afraid;
And the busy world has too much to do
To stay in its courses to help me through;
And I long for a Savior - can it be
That the God of the universe CARES FOR ME?
Oh, wonderful story of deathless Love,
Each child is dear to that heart above'
He fights for me when I cannot fight;
He comforts me in the gloom of night;
He lifts the burden, for He is strong;
He stills the sigh and awakes the song;
The sorrows that bear me down HE shares,
And loves and pardons because HE CARES.
Let all who are sad take heart again;
We are not alone in our hours of pain;
Our Father looks from His throne above
To soothe and comfort us with His love.
He leaves us not when the storms are high,
And we have safety, for He is nigh;
Can that be trouble which He doth share?
Oh, rest in peace, for the Lord DOES CARE."
Then, however frequent and fearful our “dark days" may be, our hearts may
rest in the blessed assurance that “The Savior still is with me, By His hand
I'm safely led."
Contrary to all that may be "seeming," to all our "feeling," to all our "thinking," to all our "surmising," to all our' supposing," to all that others may suggest or say, it is so, for He has said it, and His word is true-" I am with you always, day by day, until the close of the age" (Matthew 28:20 Weymouth). "With you…day by day."
"There's not an hour that He is not near us:
No, not one!
No day so dark but His love can cheer us:
No, not one!
Jesus knows all about our struggles;
He will guide till the day is done,
There's not a friend like the lowly Jesus:
No, not one! No, not one!"
With us “always, day by day," and all the hours of every day. With us - the glad days and the sad days. With us = the glowing days and the gloomy days. With us - the days of fortune and the days of failure. With us - the days of health and the days of sickness. With us - the days of prosperity and the days of adversity. With us - the days of peace and the days of perplexity. With us - the days of calm and the days of commotion. With us - the days of birth and the days of bereavement. With us - the days of gain and the days of loss. With us-the working days and the days of waiting. With us - the days of plenty and the days of penury. With us - the days of youth and the days of old age. With us- "always, day by day," and all the hours of every day.
" Moment by moment I'm kept in His love."
We may not recognize His presence so continuously, nor may we acknowledge it. This alters not the fact that He is with us. "He is faithful that promised" (Hebrews 10:23). To fail to trust His promise only robs ourselves of the blessedness of the experience, and of the full enjoyment of all that His presence means.
"Let shadows come, let shadows go,
Let life be bright, or dark with woe,
I am content, for this I know,
Thou thinkest, Lord, of me!"
Blessed contentment! So, let us trust Him.
" It's strange we trust each other,
And only doubt our Lord.
We take the word of mortals,
And yet distrust His Word.
But oh, what bliss and glory
Would shine o'er all OUT days,
If we always would remember
God means just what He says."
(A. B. Simpson)
Thus it is, as we trust Him in the dark, we come to know the" unsearchable
riches," the plenitude of provision and protection at our disposal, for the
furtherance and fulfillment of His plans and purposes for our individual lives.
It matters not how dark or difficult the course may be. Success - His success -
is sure, for He is with us.
Furthermore, it is certain that, having claimed Him as our Savior, and crowned Him as the Lord and Master of our lives, He will not call us to pass through a darker day, or circumstances more distressing, than He Himself has experienced.
"Christ leads us through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
And he that to God's kingdom comes,
Must enter by that door."
HIS was the darkest of all days, the direst
of all experiences. Pause! Think of it I
"Then dawned at last that day of dread,
When, desolate, yet undismayed,
With wearied frame and thorn-crowned head,
He, now forsaken and betrayed,
Went up for me-to CALVARY;
And, dying there in grief and shame,
He saved me-blessed be His name!"
But, that hour, for Him, was the darkest this world has ever known. Think what
it meant for Him, to face that day - the agony of the garden; the shame and
scoffing of the judgment hall; the tragedy of the Cross I Hear, from His lips,
that heartbroken cry:"...My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew
27:46) "Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow? "
"Forsaken!" Into the depths of the unfathomable darkness and mystery of that “forsaken" moment, we may not, we cannot penetrate.. This much, however; we are permitted to know, that He was" forsaken" for that moment, that, “forsaken," we should never for one m6ment be. Never! Never! Again, let this fact be emphasized -that we should never be "forsaken," never for one moment. Never! Never!
wondrous miracle of love, that thus
Bore in Himself our sins upon the tree,
That, whatsoever pains may come to us,
Yet God-forsaken we can never be;
Shall we forsake Him now, Who loved us so,
And drank for us this cup of bitter woe? "
(Irene May Roney)
Consider yet again. Though from His heart was wrung that God-forsaken cry, was it not, even then, that the highest altitude - the sublimity of faith - was reached: - "My God! My God!" Unfathomably deep as the darkness was, unutterably awful as was the anguish through which He passed, His faith in God failed not. With confidence He committed Himself into His Heavenly Father's care: - "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke 23:46). This, surely, is encouragement for us "who follow -in His train." And, has He not left it on record for our comfort, through the instrumentality of Mary on that resurrection morning, "I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God, and your God" (John 20:17). Oh, blissful heritage of assurance for all dark days. Surely this assurance, that God is our Father, and that He knows and loves and cares, should stimulate in us a simple childlike and unfaltering faith.
“A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt."
Even when faith grows faint, and when love burns low, even though it may seem
as if we are" forsaken," His Word, which cannot fail, will be our strength and
stay: "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so that we may boldly say,
the Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me'" (Heb.
"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God" (Isaiah 1:10).
"I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them" (Isaiah 42:16).
How deplorable-when the "dark days" come into any life and there is no Savior with that one. How different - even in the darkness, when it is known that, though unseen, He "still is with me" to succor and to sustain.
"Thou knowest my way-how lone, how dark, how cheerless,
If Thy dear hand I fait in all to see:
Bright with Thy smile of love, my heart is fearless,
When in my weakness I can lean on Thee.
Give me Thy presence! Go then, Lord, before me,
Make a plain path where all is rough and drear;
.,so let me trust the love that watches o'er me,
And in the shadows still believe Thee near."
Whatever may be the character of our "dark days," and from whatever
circumstances they may arise, there is only one satisfactory and effective
remedy for successful endurance through them, and for victory over them. "Faith
is the Victory." "Have faith in God" (Mark 11:22).
In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, there is recorded for our edification and encouragement, a list of heroes, who, through faith in God and His Word, "subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:33, 34).
It may be that the "dark days" that creep into our lot are not so tremendous as those referred to in this classic passage, and do not afford the opportunity for displaying such extraordinary feats of endurance or of valor. Nevertheless, the circumstances of our "darkness," the tests and trials through which we are called to pass, may be just as definite and real. Not infrequently we are beset by doubts and fears, that gender and foster depression, distraction, and even despair. It will aid us greatly in our efforts to disperse the "darkness" of these times, to recognize the source from which such doubts and fears arise. The Word of God is clear in its declaration that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). Knowing then, that fear is not from God, it can only be reckoned as of Satanic origin, and comes upon the believer from the Adversary of souls (I Pet. v. 8). Our safety and deliverance will be found, on the one hand, in a fearless, deliberate, and determined purpose to refuse to receive that which "God has not given" and, on the other hand, in appropriating, in the fullest measure, what God has provided for our relief and release – “power, love, and a sound mind." "Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7; I Peter 5:9).
Thus, by “faith in God," and by resistance of the Devil, we shall find deliverance from the Adversary's wiles and snares.
That the darkness which befalls us on such occasions, is permitted by God, is not questioned. That it is created by God cannot be allowed, for "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all " (I John 1:5). It is the persistent design of the Devil, who is "of the darkness" (Ephesians 6:12), to fill our hearts with darkness and depression, to distress and to destroy us. Many and oppressive have been the" dark day" experiences which even some of the choicest saints of God have had. Failing, for the moment, to discern that the fears attacking them were none other than the ungrounded accusations of the Adversary, they have suffered untold torture and torment, with disastrous physical, and mental, and spiritual effects. Of course, it need scarcely be added that any deliverance over the onslaughts of the Evil One can only be obtained when we have the inward sense that God has no controversy with us. For, only as we are assured that our heart condemns us not, do we have confidence toward God (I John 3:21). So is it, " In all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). “Thanks be unto God, Who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:57).
In the Diary of David Livingstone, there is recorded an incident, in his experience which appropriately exemplifies the manner in which simple faith in God overcomes the enfeebling influence of fear, arising from the subtlety of the Adversary. Under the date of 14th January 1856, he writes: - "Evening. Felt much turmoil of spirit, in prospect of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region, and this teeming population, knocked on the head by savages to-morrow. But, I read that Jesus said: ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, and 10, I am with you always even unto the end of the world.' It is the word of a gentleman, of the most strict and sacred honor. So there's an end of it! I will not cross furtively tonight as I intended. Should such a man as I flee? Nay, verily, I shall take observations for latitude and longitude tonight, though they may be the last. I feel quite calm now; thank God!"
Steps unseen before me,
Hidden dangers near;
Nearer still my Savior,
Whispering, ‘be of cheer;'
Through the clouds of midnight
This bright promise shone -
‘I will never leave thee,
Never will leave thee alone.'"
When our confidence is in God, we may be superior to circumstances. "For if God
be for us, who can be against us? "(Romans 8:31)
However impossible it may seem to the reasoning of the earthly minded, it is nevertheless a blessed reality to the trustful child of God that “Faith can sing through days of sorrow: ‘All, all is well!'"
To all such trusting ones there is given cc A new song" (Psalm 40:3), "Songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7), and "Songs in the night" (Job 35:10).
Like Habakkuk, we may experience the failure of all that ministers to the comfort of our earthly lot. Nevertheless, like him also, we may "rejoice in the Lord," and voice our joy and faith in song (Habakkuk 3:18-19).
"Though the fig tree shall not blossom,
Neither fruit be in the vine;
Olive fail and fields be barren,
Cut off oxen, flocks, and kine:
Yet rejoice in God your Savior,
Let your mind on Him be stayed;
You can trust Him in the sunshine;
Oh, trust Jesus in the shade."
(Edith L. Henessay)
When, like Job, we have been bereft of everything that has made life pleasing, then is the time to manifest our faith, and to sing our song of praise to Him who "faileth not." Like Job, we, too, may raise our doxology: - "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). Like Paul and Silas, though in prison, and at midnight hour, we still may pray and sing praises unto God" (Acts 16:25). Whatever darkness may surround us, and whatever circumstances may distress us, it will alleviate the pressure, and perhaps ameliorate the pain, if we determine, as did the Psalmist: - "I will sing praise to my God while I have my being, my meditation of Him shall be sweet, I will be glad in the Lord" (Psalm 104:33-34).
“’I will sing '-'tis fruitless to keep sighing;
I will sing - e'en though my heart be sad;
Yea-though my heart may feel desire for crying,
I will sing; and song shall make me glad.
‘I will sing' of all the way God led me,
From early years through all life's unknown way;
His goodness which, unfailing, clothed and fed me,
And brought me to this present - to this day
‘I will sing' of friendships He hath given;
Of loves and joys and interests on life's road;
But most of all because a place in Heaven,
Hath been secured for me through Christ's own blood.
Sing, then, my soul! and keep away thy sighing;
Sing now, - yes, sing, and stay thy fount of tears;
Sing of His goodness, and His love undying,
And, singing, lose thy griefs, thy cares, thy fears."
(J. Danson Smith)
Truly, it is by adopting such a course that we shall come more readily to realize something of the inestimable compensations that lie concealed in the "clouds" that cross our sky, and in the darkness that bedims our days. We shall learn that we are" loved."
"Loved when our sky is clouded o'er,
And days of darkness press us sore,
Still will we trust Him evermore,
For we are loved."
Ours shall be a deepening experience of the statement that" all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). The very darkness will be to us a divine enrichment, in revealing to us the heart of God, and that
"What seems to work against us
He does for our good employ."
"Some time ago," relates a mother about her child, "when it became necessary
to break her off the habit of sleeping with me, I laid her in her crib, kissed
her good-night, and turned out the light. She cried long and bitterly, thinking
that I did not hear her cry and that I did not love her, not knowing that I was,
in reality, not far away - only hidden by the darkness-and that my mother - heart
was aching for her. I, indeed, heard her cries, and longed to do what she
wanted, but for her own good, decided that I must hide myself. And so, in
times of affliction, our God, indeed, hears our cry; is near (Psalm 23:4) and
feels for us (Exodus 3:7); though, for our own good, He may hide His face and
may seem not to hear." (Grace C. W. Graben)
As the children of our Heavenly Father's care, we may often need to trust His wisdom and His love, when we cannot understand the "why" and "wherefore" of His mysterious dealings. If, however, we are “exercised thereby," we shall come to know the "why" and wherefore "afterward" (Heb. xii. II). It is through such experiences that we discover " the treasures of darkness.' (Isaiah 45:3)
Unseen and undreamt of before, we realize compensations through our clouds"; blessings through our "burdens"; trustfulness through our "tears"; wealth through our "weakness"; liberty through our "limitations"; enlargement through our "loss"; purifying through our "pain'; sympathy through our "suffering" ; sweetness through our" sorrow" ; rest through our "restriction" ; peace through our "panic"; triumph through our" testing'; achievement through our "adversity"; calm through our "commotion" ; strength through our "storms"; song through our "sadness"; confidence through our "conflict"; plenty through our "penury"; tenderness throughout "torture" ; freedom through our "fetters"; glory through our "gloom"; enrichment through our "ruin"; love through our "loneliness" ; refining through our "fires"; companionship through our "confinement" intimacy through our "illnesses"; the more abundant life through the "abandonment of self. " Yea, "perfection through suffering."
In the autobiography of Fanny J. Crosby, who has given to the world some seven thousand hymns recorded, in the following words, how blindness overtook her as a child, and how she bravely overcame the burden thus entailed upon her life. “When I was six weeks of age, a slight cold caused an inflammation of the eyes, which appeared to demand the attention of the family physician, but he not being at home, a stranger was called. He recommended the use of hot poultices, which ultimately destroyed the sense of sight. When this sad misfortune became known throughout our neighborhood, the unfortunate man thought it best to leave; and we never heard of him again. But I have not for a moment, in more than eighty-five years, felt a spark of resentment against him, for I have always believed from my youth up that the good Lord, in His infinite mercy, by this means consecrated me to the work that I am still permitted to do. When I remember His mercy and loving-kindness; when I have been blessed above the common lot of mortals; and when happiness has touched the deep places of my soul - how can I repine?"
When she was about eight or nine years old, and after it had been learned that all hope that she might see was taken away, she composed the following lines:
"Oh, what a happy soul I am I
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't!
To weep and sigh because I'm blind
I cannot, and I won't."
Another noble and notable illustration of triumph in "dark days" is that of the gifted Dr Moon, the inventor of the" Moon" system of reading for the blind. "When he was quite a young man, with the brightest prospects before him, he began to lose his eyesight. In spite of prayer, that some measure of sight might be preserved to him, he became totally blind. But, instead of repining at the inevitable, Dr Moon submitted to the Divine permissive will, and believed in God’s over-ruling goodness. His petition is one of the sublimest ever recorded: - "My Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for the talent of blindness. May I so use this talent, that, when the Lord Jesus returns, He may obtain His own with usury!"
"For every cloud a silver light;
God wills it so.
For every vale a shining height;
A glorious morn for every night;
And birth for labor’s throe.
For snow's white wing, a verdant field;
A gain for loss.
For buried seed, the harvest yield;
For pain, strength, a joy revealed;
A crown for every cross." (Anon)
What of the days ahead? Well, what?
"Days may be coming fraught with loss and change,
New scenes surround my life, and fancies strange;
I thank Thee that no day can ever break,
Savior, when Thou wilt leave me or forsake.
There may be days of darkness and distress,
When sin has power to tempt, and care to press;
Yet, in the darkest day I will not fear,
For, 'mid the shadows, Thou wilt still be near."
(Rev. Richmond Beck)
"What are your prospects?" a humble believer in the Lord was asked. "Bright as
the promises of God," was the reply. Surely this was well said.
For us, who are His, it is ever" better further on." Is not ours, who trust in Him, "That Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:13). "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that, where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1 - 3).
Our lamp in the night, a song in time of sorrow;
A great glad hope which faith can ever borrow,
To gild the passing day with the glory of the morrow,
Is the hope of the coming of the Lord."
" Midst the darkness, storm, and sorrow,
One bright gleam I see;
Well I know the blessed morrow
Christ will come for me.
Midst the light, and peace, and glory
Of the Father', home,
Christ for me is watching, waiting,
Waiting till I come.
He and I together entering
Those fair courts above;
He and I together sharing
All the Father's love:
Where no shade nor stain can enter,
Nor the gold be dim,
In that holiness unsullied,
I shall walk with Him.
He and I in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share;
Mine to be forever with Him
His that I am there."
The supreme enjoyment of life lies in child-like simplicity toward the Heavenly Father's love, where the heart can say and sing:
"So on I go-not knowing;
I would not if I might;
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with Him,
Than go alone by sight."
"Trust Him when dark days assail thee;
Trust Him when thy faith is small;
Trust Him, when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all."
(Lucy A. Bennett)
"They who trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true."