HOPE IN THE DARKNESS
Bruce Osborn, Director of Spiritual Development
Glacial Community YMCA
“The people walking in darkness…” Isaiah 9:2a
Darkness. Light feels so foreign, so distant, completely absent. But is it?
Throughout history, mankind has lived and persevered through periods of incredible darkness. Not a physical absence of light, although it may have felt like it at the time. No, these seasons of darkness were far worse than a simple explanation of light being absent. These were times when, if people were not on guard, the darkness would sneak up and steal their hope while standing under the street light. And in the middle of the light, hope was gone as their senses were heightened by the fear they felt from the darkness that enveloped them.
Wars, famines, genocides, oppressions, and the list could go on and on. History has been plagued by darkness. And the people of God were no strangers to these seasons either. Captivity, slavery, conquests, death…and the questions came, just like they do today, “God, where are you?”
“Oh, My children, hang on! I hear your cry for salvation! And hope is coming!”
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned.” –Isaiah 9:2
Isaiah lived and spoke the words of God some 700 years before Jesus came. And because he knew God intimately and heard his voice clearly, he was able to shed hope and light in the middle of very dark days. Hope was on the horizon. Light was coming into the darkness. And God’s people clung tightly to those words of hope.
Maybe you have experienced this kind of darkness. No, you most likely haven’t been taken captive, or felt the sting of war, or been oppressed by a foreign government. But you have likely experienced the fear of darkness through the loss of a family member, lived through the hurt of lost employment, or been the recipient of words you never expected to hear. Darkness. It creeps in and one day you wake up and there just doesn’t seem to be enough light to dispel it.
‘Oh, My children, hang on! Hope has come! And that hope will one day make all things new!”
Just as the Infinite, Jesus, became finite in the flesh of a human to bring hope to mankind centuries ago, He comes to us today. In the midst of the darkness that has overwhelmed you, Jesus comes to bring hope. No, wait, He comes not to bring hope. He is hope. Just as He came centuries ago to the people who were lost and foundering in complete darkness, He came to be their hope. And He is our hope today. And while we may not see worldwide peace, a cure for cancer, or all our wants and wishes fulfilled on this earth, He came to be our hope for eternity. And knowing that, believing that, gives us a life of hopeful abundance today. And just as Isaiah prophesied the first advent of Jesus, the apostle John, peering into heaven in his vision in Revelation heard Jesus himself speak these words of his second coming:
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:3-5
And God’s people clung tightly to those words of hope.