While living in England, we rented a 150 year old flint and brick house in a small village in Suffolk county. Soon after moving in I discovered a remnant of World War II: a black roller-shade still hung in a small window in the back of the house. During the war, homes were shuttered and darkened in towns and villages across the Suffolk countryside to hide from German bomber runs. I was told that a single lit cigarette could be seen from the air on a dark night so the danger was real. I tried to imagine what it would have been like to hide in my own home, dreading being exposed to the terrors of bombs falling by even a pinprick of light!
It seems the reverse is true today. We crave light as life around us gets darker: moral decay blurring perceptions of what is right or wrong, jobs increasingly scarce, families losing their homes, the suicide rate continuing to climb among young people, wars and rumors of wars killing and displacing innocent people. Rather than allow a paralysis of fear to completely overtake us, we look around for pinpricks of light to keep our bearings. It helps to hear about the good that people do, like reports of strangers helping each other in times of need. The problem is, for every act of human kindness comes a plethora of reports of seemingly unimaginable human ugliness. When I was in college I remember talking to a friend about “man’s inhumanity to man.” My friend (an ex-Marine) looked at me soberly as he said, “Kathie, there is no such thing as “inhuman.” Man is capable of doing all sorts of horrible things.” He was so very right.
So where can we find the light we crave in dark times? I know of no better resource than the Bible to sort out the mysteries of life in this world and into the next. Consider what the Apostle John wrote about light:
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.“ (I John 1: 5-7)
The light we desire is not of this world, it is God Himself. In fact, it is only because of God’s graciousness that we “crave” light at all. I Peter 2:9 paints an amazing picture of the dramatic change God effects on those who surrender their hearts to the light of His Son’s love:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
In the light of Christ we are not only changed, we also discover Hope in this life and in the life to come. What is totally amazing is that even though the world still is wracked by moral decay, the scarcity of jobs, families losing their homes, a growing suicide rate and, yes, war is as heinous and destructive as ever, it is the Light of Hope in Him that changes our perceptions forever. It is nothing short of a miracle of grace! I was touched doing my Journey Notes this morning by these words from II Samuel 22: 28-30,
“You save the humble, but Your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low. You are my lamp, O LORD, the LORD turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”
No matter what you may be facing, the light and love of Jesus will help you through even the darkest trial. Stay close to Him so that His light and love are reflected through you to a watching, hurting world desperate for Light. Jesus encourages us with these words from Matthew 5:13a & 16,
“You are the light of the world . . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
All to His Glory!