THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS, AND THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT.
– John 1:5
Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris defy reason.
Hours of Fox News and CNN watching this weekend hasn’t gotten me any closer to understanding.
It’s taken me a few days to even write about it.
But no amount of time will provide answers.
EVIL IS NOT RATIONAL.
Holding it up to our standards of comprehension is a recipe for failure.
The whole world is left to question (or at least I did): How could this happen? Where was God when the bombs went off? How are the victims’ families supposed to keep going?
What do we do when even the City of Light goes dark?
Light seems the furthest thing from the bloody streets of Paris.
But it got me thinking.
Does the presence of devastating darkness (evil) preclude the presence of light?
With fear running rampant across the globe, do Christians have any “insurance” against meeting a similar, unexpected end?
And – while I’m no theologian – the answer I keep coming back to is NO!
In fact, Christ gave us a clear warning in John 16:33 when He said…
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
It’s easy to assume that all light is extinguished in a tragedy.
But our Light is inextinguishable and ever-present.
“In the bible ‘darkness’ is an important image a serious reader can’t overlook. We find that the Hebrew term for darkness, arafel, is mentioned 15 times throughout the Hebrew Scriptures.
“Oddly enough, over half of such references are directly connected to GOD’S PRESENCE. For example, we find this interplay in Exodus 20:21 when Moses enters into the arafel, the darkness, and within, meets with God.
“The image appears even more in the New Testament. Jesus laid in a tomb of darkness on Holy Saturday. Yet within that PENETRATING DARKNESS, a glorious resurrection would take place.”
God in the arafel.
Whirling bullets and all.
Swoboda continues, “It is true: ‘in God there is no darkness at all.’ (I John 1:5).
“BUT THE OPPOSITE ISN’T TRUE; GOD CAN ENTER THE DARKNESS and break through its hollow trappings.”
It’s almost as though, through Scripture, Christ is saying, “I’ll be with you when the skies are blue, but HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT, you’ve never known me like you can when dark clouds surround.”
Christ’s light (presence) isn’t extinguished when evil shows up.
On the contrary.
Our deepest darkness is often the place we behold the greatest LIGHT.
Where the Light becomes personal.
And is even felt much more than it is seen.
That light IS Christ’s presence.
We’ve no guarantee of a darkness-free path.
But we can KNOW the assurance that we won’t walk it alone.
Psalm 36:9 says, “You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.”
Even in the deepest pit of darkness.
Psalm 89:15 says, “BLESSED are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the LIGHT of your PRESENCE, Lord.”
Here’s a story that brightened my outlook this weekend from a great little book…
“Bob Woods, in Pulpit Digest, tells the story of a couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface.
“The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry.
“Immediately was heard the voice of her brother. ‘Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.’
In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel; LIGHT is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming.”
That light is Christ’s presence.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Take heart! ❤
Praying for the victims of the Paris bombings.
Grateful for the Light that never leaves.