Reposted and updated from January 5, 2012. It seemed particularly appropriate in light of recent tragedies at a normally joyous time of year.
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)
Have you happened to notice the stars shining in the night sky this week? They were so amazingly clear and bright!
Not only are we approaching the Winter Solstice, but we are also just leaving the New Moon lunar phase. So, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the week with the longest, darkest nights of the year is also a week with limited moonlight.
Quite simply, this is as dark as a clear night sky ever gets. It is so dark, I had trouble finding my way down my own driveway to take the trash out. And yet, the stars are so brilliant! Only on such a dark night can we fully see just how bright those stars really are. In fact, the stars are 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?