Light in the Darkness: Extreme Times, Christ's Opportunity
Dr. Valson Abraham
In these days of confusion, chaos and crisis, we are wise not to attribute this primarily to political/social causes, but to the darkness in our hearts—our deep ignorance of God and of ourselves, and our willful blindness to God’s righteousness that reveals our fallen natures.
Even as Christians, we must not think we are immune to the darkness. We must not forget that Christ saves us while we are still sinners, and Satan lurks about, seeking through his lies to obscure the truth that has already set us free. We are always dependent only upon God and upon the saving blood of Jesus Christ, not upon anything within ourselves.
Only Jesus Christ can lead us out of darkness because He is the true light. He leads us to true knowledge and relationship with God. Only He can help us become all we are meant to become. God’s plans for us put to shame the best plans we can ever make for ourselves. Only through Him do we become children of God, members of His royal family.
Jesus also says when we radiate His light through our lives, we become the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). First, we must humble ourselves before Him and recognize our deep sin and inadequacy in His sight. When the light of the world (Christ) shines through those who are humbled before Him, the evil world around us begins to experience transformation.
We must not be too quick to blame the chaos of recent weeks and months exclusively on non-Christian forces in society and politics. We must look within ourselves to see if we also take some of the blame. We must ask ourselves hard questions.
If the non-Christian social and political forces operate in darkness, why have they not seen the light? Perhaps they have simply rejected the light. After all, Jesus Himself said that there will be those who hate the light because their deeds are evil.
However, we must not assume this. There is another possibility: is there any chance we who have the light have hidden it? Have we slowly become complacent in our walk with the Lord so that others do not see God work in our lives? Do we unwittingly become allies of darkness?
Are we quick to confess our sins in general terms but slow to confess those specific sins that give us continuing troubles and possibly hurt others (including God whom we profess to follow)? If so, whenever we do this, we confess in pride rather than humility. We cut ourselves off from the light, and we hide the light.
Do we who have the light, for the sake of harmony, in any way try to compromise with the darkness around us so that the light is dimmed and obscured? In the end, light and darkness have nothing to do with one another. We must stop fooling ourselves into thinking they do.
Are there ways we have not demonstrated the light through our own lives because of weak faith? Not just by conventional church-going and Bible studies, but do we demonstrate God’s power by risking acts of faith, leaning not on our own understanding but upon God alone, even at those times when the world (and even other church people) consider us foolish?
Are there times we are ashamed of the gospel? Do we truly know and boldly preach the gospel of the kingdom, not to reflect our present cultural values in a religious way? Do we present the gospel as Jesus and Paul taught and demonstrated it, willing to “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also,” if necessary? If we aren’t willing to let our popularity with the world go, we hide the light.
How do we shine as lights of Christ in the darkness? First, we acknowledge before God that we contribute to darkness by our own ignorance, willful blindness and spirit of compromise with darkness. We are quick to confess specific sins, demonstrating humility before God who knows all the secret sins of our hearts.
We boldly share our faith in Christ through words and deeds motivated and empowered by the light. We take the light where it is darkest. We do this, not just as individuals but as the Church, working together as members of the same family, “shining brighter because we shine together,” as someone has said. We live lives surrendered to God so others, even our enemies, will glorify Him.
There is still hope. In 18th century Scotland, during a time of troubling spiritual decline that was tearing society apart, a Scottish pastor, William Wilson, preached to his congregation, “The church and people of God are sometimes brought into the greatest extremity [crisis], that her deliverance may be more conspicuous and glorious.”
He gave biblical insights into this truth which should give us great hope: God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt, God’s deliverance of Jerusalem during the days of Hezekiah from the Assyrians, God’s deliverance of His people even in the city of their captivity—Babylon (Micah 4:10). Most of all, he reminds us of the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his enemies humiliated, tortured and killed him on a cross. God’s deliverance is the breaking of light into darkness.
Deliverance and return to the light begin with prayer. William Wilson was not just a church man, but also a praying man.William Wilson’s deep and heartfelt prayers for the glory of God and the welfare of his people were answered through the Wesleyan Revival that swept Scotland, England and America, bringing God’s light to all of English-speaking society.
God has not changed.What happened 300 years ago can happen again. God moves when His people come to the end of themselves, hunger for the light, and cry out to Him for deliverance only He can give.
Do we cry out to Him now? Do we pray for and expect an unprecedented outpouring of His Light into our lives and in the church that we may radiate Him into a darkened world?
Do we pray that God’s light will shine through us to complete the Great Commission in India and beyond?
We live in extreme and troubled times, but is this also Christ’s greatest opportunity—and ours?
Father God, you are my light and my salvation. Forgive me for trusting in lesser things and those times I do not let your light shine through me. I renew my trust in you. I thank you that Jesus Christ died for me and brings me into your light. Help me to live more consistently in your light that I may become all you meant me to be. Help me to shine more brightly as light in the darkness so that your Good News will spread to all the world, especially to those still in darkness who have never heard. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.