It was around midnight, but the city was still awake and very much alive. There was some traffic on the streets and people on the sidewalks were talking and laughing as though it were the middle of the day. We were in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on a Sunday night in June. Ricky has spoken in both the morning and evening services, and we’d had a meal after the last service, so it was very late. We were too tired to walk the 35 minutes back to our hotel so the missionary who was our host gave us clear instructions on how to ride the subway back to the Comfort Inn. He emphasized that once we got off at our stop, we were to take the stairs on the left, not the right. We felt pretty confident as we quickly walked onto the train to Santa Rosa Station. It seemed simple enough. Getting off, we were surprised to see that the exit we were to take had been barricaded for the night. There was no choice but to take the stairs to the right.

Coming up onto the street, we realized the reason we were told not to take that exit. It was all dark and quiet, with no cars, no policemen or friendly people out walking their dogs. Nothing looked familiar. Down the street we did see a couple of teenagers in dark jackets with hoods, hovering together. We had lost our sense of direction and there was no help in sight. Here we were in a foreign country, all alone and a prime target for mugging.

But I was not afraid. I had my protector right beside me. I was sure Ricky would jump into action if anyone tried to hurt me. Not only that, but he is really good with directions and I knew he’d find our way back. Within minutes he spotted the main street a couple of blocks over and calmly said, “This way, our hotel is right over there.” What a relief!

Some time after that incident, I was reading from Exodus 20:21 and found that Moses had at least one night like the one I just described. “And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.He had come down from the mountain, after having received the Ten Commandments. Instead of a warm welcome, the people drew back in fear. There was thick darkness in the camp. But Moses was not afraid. In fact, he boldly stepped into the blackness, because God was there. In reading the surrounding verses, we learn that Moses had a close relationship with God. He trusted Him.  He knew God would protect him. There was no need to worry.

When we find ourselves in the pit of despair, loneliness or fear, it’s a comfort to know that our God is there for us, in the black of the night. All we need to do is to draw near to Him, as Moses did. Peace and comfort are waiting.