“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lives in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
Darkness is part of life – and as the fall moves toward winter we are reminded of this by shortened days and longer nights. We are in a time of shadows and the evening comes early and the dawn rises late each morning.
We often think that the dark things in life should be avoided. “Cheer up,” we say to ourselves or to our friends when we are down. “Get over it,” is the message from the world. It is as if we are in control of our situation and if we would simply do the right thing then we should be able to return to normal. But if we are sick, if a loved one is dying or has recently died, if our job is rough or if we have been “downsized” then the reality of being down is something we should not rush through too quickly. It is OK to spend time in the darkness. In fact, sometimes our efforts to get ourselves out of the darkness on our own terms can be self-destructive
At the same time, this week’s lesson from Isaiah reminds us that when we wait for God in the darkness of our lives, the promise is that God’s coming to us brings light to us that we can’t always simply bring to ourselves. The people of Israel had been through decades of struggle but the prophet Isaiah reminds them – God is still at work and light is coming. Be open to God’s gracious and saving actions! The roughest things in life are way too much for you – but not too much for God! This is not about saving ourselves – it is about having faith and hope in a God who loves us.
This week, take a few moments to reflect on the shadows and darkness in your life. Spend time there and simply be open to God’s healing and gracious touch. Allow God to shine in the midst of whatever burdens you have.
At the same time, we celebrate the privilege we have of being people of faith. As a community of faith, our knowing that light comes to people who are in darkness allows us to also be people who bring light in the ministries we do. Our efforts to share God’s love bring light and life in places that are often dark and difficult for people. It is why we give our energy and resources to do this work. It is life-changing and a blessing we share with the world around us.