“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
There is so much in life that is beautiful that radiates love and light, but right alongside it, in the shape of hatred, wrangling, injustice, crime, violence – all things we face daily – is the reality of darkness in the brokenness of a world trapped by sin, which mars the light. Sin forms in the heart, and brings conflict and confusion to the mind and spirit, later leaving behind it a trail of destruction.
Sin often begins in unexpectedly small ways – a thought, a misguided word, lack of self-control – perhaps a fear – often a combination, causing us to lose our focus on Jesus and succumb to the effects it brings.
Peter warned the scattered Christians to whom he was writing, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Peter had experienced dark fear when he’d allowed the waves to distract him from focusing on Jesus; again it had happened when he denied Jesus. Dark fear also consumed the world with the arrival of the virus without warning; but for Peter, Jesus’ forgiveness and re-commissioning lifted him and restored the light. (John 21:15-17) Peter’s call is to stand our ground and face the devil, because Jesus is with us and has already defeated him.
We need the brilliant purging and restorative light of Jesus that “shines in the darkness, (which) the darkness has never put out” (John1:5) so that we too can see things clearly as we are cleansed and forgiven and can count our rich blessings daily. Wherever Jesus shines His light, good things are happening – not yet perfected – but full of hope, love and grace.
Jesus promised that no-one who followed Him would live in darkness, because His “light of life” would shine in them; so although there is darkness around us, it cannot affect that light within. He will guide us though the darkness of a pandemic, just as readily as Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea on the way to the Promised Land, completely separated from the water. Like the Israelites, we know where we are headed. Our part is to keep focused on Jesus and to persevere as His light in us inspires us.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You left the glorious light of heaven to transform our perceptions of darkness in this world forever. Help me to live through this difficult time when darkness seems prominent, and gloom and sadness are everywhere. Show me the greater reality of Your truth and light. Help me to search myself and my faith in Your light to work out my salvation “with fear and trembling” as we tackle these challenges in higher levels of freedom. (Philippians 2:12) Amen.