I can’t get this image out of my head: a single glowing candle, surrounded by darkness. Like the middle of the night, many years ago. There was no power in the house. The wind was howling. My Mom sat at the dining room table with me nestled on her lap, reading the Bible to me by the light of an oil lamp. Her loving presence taught me early to trust God.
Many storms have come and gone since then, the worst ones having nothing to do with weather. Jesus has always been the candle glowing in the darkness. Nothing has ever been able to snuff out His love.
So many people are grieving deeply this year. Maybe it’s always been this way, but this year it seems darker than ever. Where is the light in the darkness?
The simple answer is With Us. It was predicted long before His birth:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Jesus was born as a baby; and when He was grown, He said:
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
Then He died on the cross, and was buried in darkness. The light seemed to disappear. That’s why it’s so important that He rose again. He left for heaven to make us a home. He promised if we follow Him, we won’t walk in darkness. But aren’t we living in dark times? How can we truthfully say we aren’t walking in darkness? We feel it. It hurts us.
But “the Father…has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:12-14 Maybe the deepest darkness is really the emptiness of those who don’t know Christ – hopelessness. We do not walk in that darkness.
When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in Christ-followers, His presence was made known by tongues of fire over the believers’ heads. They became human candles. While Jesus was walking and talking with people on Earth, He said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
If you are going through a dark time, you are not alone. His light is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter in you. Though you may feel overcome by darkness, you are the light of the world because you are filled with the life of Jesus Christ. You may not be able to see it right now, but the forces of darkness can see it. You are a mighty warrior of light. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
I am writing this as an honest struggle: how can I shine God’s light in dark places when I don’t really understand the depths of someone else’s grief?
Maybe the best way to be a light is just to walk next to someone who is grieving. His light shines through you. Maybe your presence will be that single candle, shining in the darkness.
If you are not grieving, take the love which Christ put in your heart, and share it with someone who is sad. Call or text them. Really pray for them. If you don’t personally know someone walking through grief, please pray for those going through dark times. Let’s remember them and not get lost in Christmas Madness. The Lord hears, sees, and helps.
If you are grieving, know that your Father loves you deeply and your Family is praying for you. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:18 I think He delights in taking our sorrows on Himself. May you experience him more closely this season than ever before.