Light in the Darkness

Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” (Psalm 139:12 ESV)

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Have you ever felt utter despair?  A kind of crippling hopelessness which strangles your dreams and desires for life.  Despair can come wrapped in many varied life packages…the unexpected death of a child….or the sudden loss of a family member or friend…A terminal diagnosis ….or an unrelenting chronic pain residing deep inside….the destruction of property and of sacred life brought about by the massive demolition of corrupt leaders or rebels with a cause….or the destruction of property and sacred life brought about by daily social unrest, hatred, or extreme injustice.

      When I think back on the events of my life, there are times when I struggled with despair, a deep and uncontrollable hopelessness which paralyzed and possessed my days and my nights.  My last utter despair came quite unexpectedly.  The aftermath was quite apparent and long-lasting.   Years later my focus now is helping others find a complete recovery from despair … the complete healing of a struggling hopelessness…and to help them see the undeniable power of Christ to heal and restore.

 

        I recall with full clarity and precision the day I found my complete healing and my utter despair was no more.   I was sitting alone…isolated and frightened… so weary and tired of my struggling predicament.  As I mumbled my way through my distorted thoughts, I gently closed my eyes just hoping for a brief reprieve of the moment and  what I found there was much more… for in my struggling despair…He was there…….

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…I thought I noticed a powerful spirit…yet I was holding on too tightly to my despair…

        I became very frightened by His apparent sovereign presence…yet I was completely relieved…

        He seemed to appear at first as an obscure figure…yet He was blinding illuminating light…

        He seemed to be so distant…yet He was so close …close enough to feel His radiating strength and unconditional love and mercy…

        I wanted to flee…yet I thought I heard Him call me by my name…

        I was trembling and shaking…yet He calmed my spirit and soothed my soul…

        I was completely defeated…yet He had already won the war…

        I quickly dissolved into nothing…yet He embraced me with such familiarity and warmth…

        I finally surrendered with nothing to give Him ….yet He gave me all in return…..

“…Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.” (Isaiah 50:10 ESV)

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When you close your eyes in times of despair, who is there? 

 

 “The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our hearts on the black horse of affliction.  Jesus uses the whole range of our experiences to wean us from earth and woo us to Heaven.” 

—Charles Spurgeon—

He Went Willingly!

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people…” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 ESV)

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When I think of Christ through the lens of His humanity, I am just in awe and utter disbelief of the sacrifice He was willing to make for all of us!  Christ is fully God and fully Man but it is the Man I love so very much, the Man I cling tightly to for His grace and for His mercy, the Man I scream out for in my earthly discomfort and grief for it was the Man who walked among us, who loved, who thirst, who wept, and who suffered rejection and pain.   It was the Man who was tempted and yet remained sinless through His temptation.  He could have come into this world as a King, yet He came as a suffering servant and became the ransom for all who believe and call upon His name. I cannot imagine the torment and the suffering He endured so that I may be reconciled to the Father and have peace, comfort, and everlasting life… and He went willingly to the Cross….He went willingly…

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15: 13 ESV)

As we celebrate Easter, take a moment to think of His crucifixion and the horrific and tragic end of His earthly life.  But that was truly only the beginning for us…for there would not have been a resurrection without a crucifixion…There are so many similarities between non-believers and believers. We all walk together through this broken and fallen world but for me…I know this simple fact without doubt….. I would rather walk in darkness with Christ then to walk in the daylight without Him.

“They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand.  Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.  They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.”  (Matthew 27: 28-30 ESV)

We are all human beings…we are all sinners…we are all living in and trying desperately to navigate through a broken and fallen world…we are all made in the image of God…We are all greatly loved by our Heavenly Father… and I realize in all our similarities, as I quickly and humbly remind myself of Christ praying on the Mount of Olives, trying to imagine and conceptualize His blood-stained sweat seeping from every pore as He knelt there in prayer in tremendous agony and despair of the impending torture and crucifixion awaiting Him, that He willingly sacrificed His life so that all of us may live!  He went to the Cross willingly…He went willingly.  The only difference standing between a non-believer and a believer is as a believer, I have accepted the greatest gift to all of humanity and you may have only yet to receive.

He is risen!

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Do you have a friend who is willing to lay down His life for you?  Who do you call out to in times of stress, uncertainty, or defeat?  Is someone there beside you holding your hand in your darkest and weakest despair? 

“For love of you, I left my Father’s side…

I came to you, who ran from me…

Who fled me, who did not want to hear my name.

For love of you, I was covered in spit…

Punched and beaten…

And fixed to the wood of the Cross.”

—Brennan Manning