Light in the Darkness

stars in night sky

Light Shines Brightest in Darkness (image by bulldogza at freedigitalphotos.net)

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
(Isaiah 9:2, also referenced in Matthew 4:16)

Did you happen to notice the stars shining in the night sky during the week before Christmas?  They were so amazingly clear and bright!

The week before Christmas 2011, in addition to being the Winter Solstice, was also a New Moon lunar phase.  Winter Solstice was December 22, and New Moon was December 24, Christmas Eve.  So, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the week with the longest, darkest nights of the year was also a week with no moonlight.

Quite simply, that is as dark as a clear night sky ever gets.  It was so dark, I had trouble finding my way down my own driveway to take the trash out.  And yet, the stars were so brilliant!  Only on such a dark night can we fully see just how bright those stars really are.  In fact, the stars were so bright that, once my eyes had adjusted to the darkness, I could see my way back to the house, by starlight, alone.  Light always shines brightest in darkness!

 

Speaking of the coming Messiah, Isaiah, the prophet, said, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light!

Jesus is the Light of the world, yet His ministry is to those in darkness.  In order to minister to us, He came to this land of darkness, this world that is filled with sin, deception, and blindness.  The sin and darkness did not simply disappear in His presence.  Jesus, Light of the world, was surrounded by darkness during His ministry on this earth.

And in the midst of that darkness, the Light of God’s glory shone more brightly than ever!

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light!

Jesus, himself, is light, yet he ministered in the midst of darkness, and to those in darkness He was a great light.  Now, watch what happens to those who choose to follow Him.

I am the Light of the world;  he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life! (Matthew 8:12)

As we follow Him, we become surrounded by His light.  Although we still inhabit a world filled with darkness, we ourselves, now walk in light.

Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them.

Though we still live in a dark land, the light of God’s glory shines on us, as we follow Him!

The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light; 
Those who live in a dark land, 
The light will shine on them.

Not a light away from the darkness, but a light in the darkness.  When we follow Him, we are not called to be removed from the darkness, but to walk in His light, as we continue to live in a dark land.

Why?  Why leave us living in a dark land, if we are now walking in light?

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

We are called to the same ministry as Jesus, to be the light of the world, to shine the light of God’s glory in a world filled with darkness.

To be a light in the darkness, we must be surrounded by darkness, while walking in the light.  We cannot just hang out at church, with fellow believers, any more than Jesus could stay in Heaven, with the Father.  To be a light in the darkness, we must connect with the people in darkness, on a personal level.

As a light in the darkness, we also suffer the consequences of darkness.  During His earthly ministry, Jesus suffered hunger, cold, rejection, and temptation, just as we do.  Those are a natural part of living in a world filled with darkness.  We also live with the effects of a dark world, even as we walk in the light.

As Christians, it is easy to start expecting God to insulate us from all of the effects of living in a dark land.  Since we are walking in light, we start expecting to be untouched by the darkness surrounding us.  However, it does not work that way.  Though we are walking in the light of God’s glory, we still live in a dark land, and that darkness still affects our lives with sorrow, grief, relational devastation, rejection, illness and temptation.

And you know what?  Continuing to feel the effects of the surrounding darkness is neither accidental nor incidental.  This is God’s intentional plan for our lives.  We are the light of the world.  We are called to a ministry of being light in the darkness, and to fulfill that calling it is necessary both to walk in light and to live in a dark land.

Light always shines brightest in darkness!

How do you feel about being called to be a light in the darkness?  Are you sometimes discouraged by the surrounding darkness?  Are you sometimes excited to be called to such a high calling?

 

12 thoughts on “Light in the Darkness

  1. Redeemed caught my eye. I was looking for commentary on light and darkness. Good article. My favorite line was “sin and darkness did not simply disappear in His presence.” We can’t expel the darkness with our presence, but we can allow Christ to shine through us that others will see the Light and desire to walk in Him. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • That’s it, exactly Gwen! Thanks for the excellent summary! I plan to post on similar topics for the next two to three weeks (posting weekly) if you’d like to stop by.

      Also, I noticed Anne Bundy had some nice posts on the topic of light in darkness, last month, on her website at http://building-his-body.blogspot.com/ if you want to check hers out.

      God bless!

  2. I like the comparison of Jesus choosing to come from Heaven & be Light walking in darkness as He has called us to do & suffering the consequences of doing that.

    I love the calling of God that allows me to work so directly with those who are coming out of the darkness of sin, abuse & addiction. However, since I work for a ministry I think it is easier than if you have to work with people who think they “have become rich & have need of nothing” and don’t know that they are “wretched, poor, blind, & naked.” I think it is so much easier to minister to those who are desperate & know they need help. (Noting also that these are the ones Jesus focused His ministry to.) The main time the Darkness is discouraging & overwhelming to me is when people are embracing it & think it is Light!!! Those are the moments when I feel sick inside. Not because of the type or quantity of Darkness but because it is accepted, embraced & endorsed.

    • Dorcas, I actually thought of you and your ministry as I was writing this post. I absloutely love how God is impacting lives through your ministry!

      I’ve always found it interesting the two people groups with whom Jesus had no real ministry. The first was those who lived in Nazareth, and refused to believe Jesus was called of God, or could do miraculous things. The second was the spiritual leaders who were so caught up in their legalistic religious system, they had come to accept the darkness of their own self-righteousness as light.

      It reminds me of what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”

      Thanks for the insightful discussion.

      Love you, Sis!

  3. I’ve been clinging to those verses in Isaiah ever since we got the bad news about my father-in-law. And I like what you say about us shining the light of Jesus in darkness – I can see how I might have a light-shining role in this darkness, serving to buoy the spirits of my husband and kids as we weather the suffering and eventual passing of my father-in-law. Thanks for this, Joe – you’ve added a great deal of insight to what I’ve been pondering these last couple of weeks.

    • I continue to pray for your family, during this difficult time, Michelle.

      The life of Christians in this world seems so full of contradictions and mixed emotions. Sorrow at the loss of a loved one mixed with thankfulness for the years of sharing their presence and joy at knowing they have gone home with Jesus, all seem to work toward an increasing longing for Christ’s return.

      And yet, for this present age, we have the high calling of being the Light of the world, which is such a privilege and blessing!

      I am continually amazed at how God can take this constant struggle of walking in light while living in a dark land, and use it to work His will and purpose!

      May God continue to richly bless you and your family!

  4. You are so right! We are called to be lights for Him in the darkness. And no matter what challenges we may face as we serve Him in this way, it is always worth it! Blessings, Joan

    • Yes, it is absolutely always worth it!

      Thank you, for stopping by, Joan! I really enjoyed the related post on your blog.

      Keep shining the light of His glory! =^)

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