Own Your Darkness
December 2, 2021 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
Light and darkness are a significant motif during the Advent season. We hear in Isaiah 9:2, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." This verse communicates the great hope that the birth of Christ brings to those who have struggled with the darkness of this world and sin. The darkness illustrates a wide range of afflictions people experience: relational brokenness, oppression, sickness, death, natural disasters, emotional brokenness, and on and on. The light illustrates the hope that Christ restores all things, bringing an end to all sin, injustice, physical illness, and on and on.
There is an “already but not yet” dynamic to this hope-filled promise of light in darkness. Christ’s first Advent breaks into the darkness and conquers the power of darkness. The “light of life” has already come into the hearts and lives of those who follow Christ (John 8:12). But darkness still pervades our lives. And so we long for and eagerly await the second Advent of Christ. This is the hope we sing of when we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
When we think about the darkness that pervades our lives, we often think of outside sources (at least I do). The darkness comes from oppressive ideologies, godless people, or a broken world system. All of these are true sources of darkness in this world, but when we think of darkness coming only from outside sources, we let inner darkness drown out the hope of light Jesus brings.
Consider what we learn about darkness in Psalm 107:10-16.
10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
prisoners in affliction and in irons,
11 for they had rebelled against the words of God,
and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
they fell down, with none to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and burst their bonds apart.
15 Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
16 For he shatters the doors of bronze
and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Darkness and affliction and imprisonment are all highlighted in verse 10. What is the source? Verse 11 explains the darkness came from personal rebellion against God’s word. “They,” as in those who “sat in darkness,” rebelled against God. They brought darkness on themselves.
Do you own your darkness? Don’t get me wrong… yes, there is darkness in our lives from outside sources. But we add darkness ourselves. We have greater strength and hope to endure darkness from the outside when our inner darkness is being dispelled by Christ.
Keep reading Psalm 107. Verse 13 has the beautiful transition every single one of us must do. Daily. We must cry to the Lord in our trouble. Confession. Repentance. Contrition. Faith in Christ’s substitutionary atonement. And then the promises of light flow. “He delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death.”
The promise of Isaiah 9:2, the promise of the Advent season, can be experienced by followers of Christ every time we cry to the Lord in our trouble. He breaks into our darkness and brings the light of life and hope. While we wait for all darkness to be dispelled at the second coming of Christ, we must celebrate, rest in, and be strengthen by the light which breaks in now into our own personal darkness. Let’s own our darkness and cry to the Lord for light. Every candle lit, every sparkling light, every carol sung, should draw our attention to this very present hope.