Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the circumstances or issues of life happening around you? I remember being in the middle of some pretty difficult times, longing for the days when that fog of uncertainty would lift and no longer linger over me. Jesus spoke about us living in times where nothing seems normal or stable, where the world around us is flung into chaos and disarray. So if you are experiencing some tough times, or you know of someone you care about, who is, today's letter is purposed to shine some light in your darkness and encourage you.
First of all, let's just get something out of the way here. I call it the 'Why me? syndrome'. Do you remember reading in the Psalms, where David battled to come to terms with the fact that while he was doing everything he knew to be right, he still faced horrid circumstances and was constantly looking over his shoulder for those who were pursuing his life? You can just hear him cry out, "Why me Lord?!". If you have ever been tempted to join David's pity party, you are not alone. But I must remind you, Jesus Himself said, we are living in a cursed world and we do have an enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy all God is and has done in our lives. HOWEVER, remember what Jesus tells us in John 16:33. He warns us to not be alarmed by the things that bring distress and frustration. Instead, we are to take courage; be confident, certain, and undaunted! (Amplified version). Do you know why? Because, in spite of all that uncertainty and instability we may be facing, God has promised that He will personally establish, securely ground, strengthen and settle us! (1 Peter 5:10).
Wow! Those are some powerful promises right there for us to meditate on, especially when we walk through those dark times and we feel we're on the brink of being overcome by the pressures and stress of life. I want to show you a simple, yet profound truth that has been a light and life line to me whenever the darkness threatens to suffocate and snuff out my peace and joy.
Take a look at John 1:4-5, "In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it]."
When I was in primary school, I remember going on a field trip to the planetarium. I had never visited a planetarium before, and when they began the presentation in the pitch darkness, with no one permitted to make a sound, it was simply overwhelming for me. The darkness was so intense I couldn't even see my lifted in front of my face. It actually felt like it was pressing against me, to the point of battling to breathe. But then, suddenly, the sky above me lit up with the light of little star. That star caught the attention of everyone in that place, it shone so brilliantly, the darkness that seemed so overpowering only a moment before, was completely insignificant in comparison. I remember thinking it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
When Jesus says He is the light of the world that shines on in the darkness, do you realise He isn't speaking of an outside force of light and life we must search for? No, He is referring to being the light that shines from the inside of us. Even when we are at our weakest, and we feel there is little hope to hold on to, His light is still shining on the inside of us, from our spirits, where His Spirit lives! And just as that oppressive darkness in the planetarium was no match for that little star, that light inside of us, will never be overpowered or absorbed by the darkness around us. In fact, wherever we go, and whatever we encounter, no matter how overbearing it seems in comparison, the darkness has no option but to yield to that light inside of us.