Light in the Darkness

[Reposted and updated from January, 2012]

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)

Have you happened to notice the stars shining in the night sky this week? They are so amazingly clear and bright!

On December 21, this year, we have an unusual event that occurs about once every 30 years or so.  The New Moon falls on the exact same night as the Winter Solstice.  For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest, darkest night of the year is also a night with no moonlight.

Quite simply, this is as dark as a clear night sky ever gets. Yet, the stars are so brilliant! Only on such a dark night can we fully see just how bright those stars really are. 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. But, it doesn’t 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!

Your thoughts?

 

[Linked to Wellspring, Trading Good ]

 

14 thoughts on “Light in the Darkness

  1. I never really thought of it this way, because darkness was alway my friend. It provided a degree of operational security, and its proper use conferred the element of surprise – “Fear the darkness, whence I, with retribution at my right hand.”

    But I can certainly see your point, and the metaphor. We are certainly called to be a light in the darkness, but I think it may be more than illumination that we are to provide.

    Light and shadow are what give three-dimensionality to what we see, and in that sense the light we bear is what lets us see the world, truly, for what is the first time. The scales fall from our eyes, so to speak.

    Light in the darkness is indeed the symbol of hope (unless it’s in a tunnel, and the light’s an oncoming train).

    Witness “it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness”.

    I have, however. modified that aphorism. Under my current circumstances, a single candle feels a bit inadequate.

    Thus,

    “Illuminate, and fire for effect.”

    • I am reminded of this poem I saw recently:

      What to Do in the Darkness
      Marilyn McEntyre

      Go slowly
      Consent to it
      But don’t wallow in it
      Know it as a place of germination
      And growth
      Remember the light
      Take an outstretched hand if you find one
      Exercise unused senses
      Find the path by walking it
      Practice trust
      Watch for dawn

      Blessings to you, my friend!

    • As I reread this, I thought the darkness around us. Why are so surprised when ungodly people act ungodly? Why do the heathen rage? Because they don’t know the truth! So our shock at the world is really ill placed. They are following their natural desires and its our job to show them a better way and for God to change.

      • Yes, even when Jesus was here on Earth in bodily form, the darkness did not cease to exist. It was certainly penetrated by His light…and many blind people were led to God. But those who chose to walk in darkness were still as blind as ever.

        So, why do we expect otherwise? We shouldn’t.

        Thank you, David!

  2. We’d be better off without the dead weight of our expectations – at the least, take them off of our shoulders, examine them to see why we still carry them, and then let them go – but for some of us there is a payoff in staying ill. The question gets posed “Do you want to be healed?” In the answer is our life.

    Good stuff, Joe – always good stuff. Merry Christmas!

    • “Do you want to be healed?”

      A truly profound question…with such an obvious answer that is too often refused…

      The prophet Isaiah said of Messiah, “By His stripes we are healed.” In one of his epistles, Peter quotes this passage, making it clear that what His stripes heal us of is the disease of sin.

      While we try to figure out legalistic loopholes to cling to sin while escaping hell, Jesus continues to ask, “Do you want to be healed?”

      Thank you, Rick, for adding this perspective!

  3. “Light always shines brightest in darkness!” Oh, how we need that reminder, especially in times when it seems things are dark. But the Light is always with us, in us, around us. May we continue to walk in light and live in a dark land. Thanks, Joe. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

    • Yes, the world does seem increasingly dark, lately. Doesn’t it?

      But the light of God’s glory still shines…brighter than ever.

      Thank you, Lisa, and a blessed Christmas to you and your family!

  4. As I prepare to spend Christmas Eve surrounded by non-believers, I truly appreciate this reminder. “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.”
    This was a needed message. Thank you.
    Blessings to you and may you have a blessed Christmas.

    • Thank YOU, Beth!

      I pray that God will use your Christmas Eve event to shine the light of His glory to those around you.

      Have a blessed Christmas!

  5. “Since we are walking in light, we start expecting to be untouched by the darkness surrounding us. But, it doesn’t work that way.” … It’s just an easy trap to believe all darkness is bad and must be quickly exited. Thank you for the reminder that God works so beautifully there, too. And thank you for linking with Unforced Rhythms.

    • “It’s just an easy trap to believe all darkness is bad and must be quickly exited.”

      So very true!

      Shattered dreams…broken relationships…death…pain…sorrow…loss…

      We don’t like them…and for good reason…we weren’t designed for them…they are not our eternal destiny.

      But, for now, they are both our ministry and our tutor.

      Thank you, Beth, for adding this dimension to the discussion.

      Have a blessed Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge