Light In the Darkness

Think about a time when you were fumbling and stumbling around in a dark room, one that was so dark that you could not see your hand if you waved it right in front of your face. In situations like this, whether or not you will bump into something is inevitable at times, no matter how familiar you are with the room. Running into walls, knocking things over, tripping over the shoes that you forgot you left in the middle of the floor—this is what happens when we try to navigate in the dark. There is a fear that comes over the mind because you do not know who or what is in the room with you, and you cannot see the direction in which you are walking. When you think about it, it is easy to understand why the Bible often uses darkness as descriptions for states of foolishness, ignorance, evil, Christless living and recklessness. Darkness is the absence of light, but when light enters into that dark room, it becomes our source of knowledge, safety, direction, and truth. Light exposes things for what they truly are, and it reveals any potential hazards, like those shoes you left in the middle of the floor. As Christians, we believe the world is a dark place, but Jesus is the light that can push back the darkness. Matthew wrote, ““The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:15-17).” To a world that is living in darkness, the good news of Jesus Christ is light. The Lord’s invading light chases and pushes back the night until the space which was once covered in darkness becomes fully illuminated.

Christian, you carry that torch wherever you go. Jesus has commissioned his people to be the ambassadors of his kingdom, and we want to be a ministry that is driven by the gospel because we know there is a dark world that needs the treasured message we possess. We can sometimes be guilty of pretending the darkness does not exist. If you sit outside in the middle of the night near a park or an area that stays lit 24 hours, you may notice strange behaviors in birds. Though it is common for many birds to stay active at night, the ones that we usually hear at dawn are sometimes active well before the sun rises due to the artificial light illuminating the area. Park birds live in a perpetual state of ignorance as they sing their morning songs when it is still dark outside. Like these birds that sing at two o’clock in the morning, we can be guilty of saying, “‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14). Instead of living a lie and pretending the night does not exist, let us carry our torches into a world that needs real, eternal light—the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Post tenebras lux (After darkness, light). This phrase became the motto of the Protestant Reformation. After a time when the gospel had been hidden and distorted, a new dawn was breaking in the night sky. The message of the church to the world is that Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves. In our place, Jesus lived perfectly and died sacrificially. In his place, we are considered by God to be perfectly righteous by faith. Do not believe that message only to pretend like the world does not need to know it right now. Also, do not sit around and complain about how evil the world has become as if it has not always been this way. Instead, carry the torch, for if you lack the initiative to evangelize, what does that say about your trust in the gospel’s effective power? Labor onward, church.

Reflect on the words of this hymn written by Frank Houghton, “Facing a Task Unfinished.”

We bear the torch that flaming

Fell from the hands of those

Who gave their lives proclaiming

That Jesus died and rose;

Ours is the same commission,

The same glad message ours;

Fired by the same ambition,

To you we yield our pow’rs.

O Father, who sustained them,

O Spirit, who inspired

Savior, whose love constrained them

To toil with zeal untired,

From cowardice defend us,

From lethargy awake!

Forth on your errands send us

To labor for your sake.

Scriptures to ponder: John 8:12-32; Job 17:12-16; Isaiah 58:1-14; Isaiah 60:1-22