Light and darkness

This week’s blog post reflects on the metaphor of light and darkness in the Bible.

In the Bible, we are told that God is light. In 1 John 1:5, the Apostle writes –“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

When we are in darkness, we can be encouraged that God lives in us and so we have a light that will never go out.

Whenever we suffer, we look forward to the time when the difficulty will be over and we can experience relief. We continuously look to God to remove the pain. However, during the dark times we have to learn that God’s light is still always shining amidst the gloom. We have to learn how to trust God and learn to see His light in the night. When you follow God, you are never fully in the darkness, his light is always there. When you experience God’s light in your darkness, that changes your whole experience and attitude towards darkness.

God’s light will guide you day and night. You might not know what to do far into the future, but  God gives just enough light for the exact moment you need it. Trust that the light from God is sufficient. When you are walking in darkness, take comfort in God’s light. No matter how dark your life is, in God you have an abundance of light.

Devote yourself to prayer and reading the Bible, so that when the false light comes, you can recognize it and return to God, the true light.

God allows darkness to come into our life because some things can only be learnt in the darkness.

Darkness can be a test, it enables us to grow spiritually and teaches us about God.

When you are in darkness, look for God’s light – His goodness and guidance. God’s light is always there, even in the darkness, but you have to look for it. Good can always come out of any situation, look for the light in the darkness. Reach out for God.

Darkness can lead you to a greater awareness of God’s presence as the greater the darkness, the more zealously you seek Him.

God enables us to be confident about His light by letting us test it in the darkness. When this happens, don’t be afraid. God has created darkness in this case to benefit you. Isaiah 45:7 tells us – “I form the light and create darkness”.

When you are experiencing great darkness, not able to see anything, be comforted by the fact that God is with you and that He hasn’t forsaken you.

Sometimes the greatest light comes after the deepest darkness.

Sometimes when things are dark, you may feel that you aren’t in God’s will. If you are in the dark because you have sinned, repent and God will lead you out of it. However, if you have been obeying God, you are in God’s will. God at times will lead you to darkness to grow your faith. Don’t be afraid of the dark, but see it as a good place to be. When the darkness surrounds you, God’s light inside you will shine brighter. God will give you light right where you are, just take God’s hand and walk with Him.

Be courageous and go on a journey where God’s light is your only light. Give God permission to lead you wherever He wants.

Don’t worry if you can’t predict the future. Trust in God even if you can’t see clearly ahead. And don’t have regrets about the past. Focus on the fact that you have God now. God is your light. And that’s all that matters.

When you are in the dark, try to see God’s light. God wants us to depend on Him so we can walk with Him on the path He has laid out for us. He wants us to come to Him so we can sense His presence always. There is a darkness that is not like the darkness of evil or the darkness of our disobedience. There is a darkness where God places His treasures. “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel.” The treasure we find in the darkness is God.

God uses darkness to increase our knowledge of Him. The more difficult our situation, the more desperately we cling to God. Darkness can help reveal God’s great love and grace towards us. Sometimes, there are things that God can only teach us in the dark.

Sometimes what seems like the darkest step we’ve ever been on comes just before the brightest light we’ve ever experienced.

He wants us to trust Him so completely that He can take us on a journey where His light is our only light. Then when we take His hand, He can lead us anywhere.

Giving up comfort for risk

This week’s blog entry continues on previous weeks’ reflections on the story of Peter walking on water.

Here’s the Bible passage from Matthew 14:25-32 –

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

*

Peter followed Jesus’ command to get out of the boat and walk on water. However, while he was walking on water, he saw the stormy winds and rough waves and started to panic. When he lost his faith in Jesus enabling him to walk on water, he started to sink.

Peter failed in his attempt to walk on water. Yet though he failed, he wasn’t the biggest failure in the boat. In fact, out of all the disciples, it can be argued that Peter was the most successful. While the other disciples trembled with fear in the boat, at least Peter had a moment of glory when he walked on water. He experienced walking on liquid that was solid as a rock. The disciples in the boat were greater failures because their fear made them stay in the boat, in what seemed to be safe and they missed out on the opportunity of experiencing the miracle of walking on water.

God calls us to walk on water, to let go of our fears in the pursuit of an extraordinary dream. What’s your dream? Maybe it’s to write a book, make a film or start a new business. Maybe it’s to be a missionary to the lost in a distant country, or to adopt a child who has been abandoned by his mother. Are you willing to heed God’s call and risk failure and discomfort?

If you heed God’s call, it doesn’t mean that you won’t fail. Peter obeyed God’s call to walk on water, but he failed to stay walking. However, that’s ok. God doesn’t expect us to walk perfectly when we heed his call to get out of the boat because when you say yes to God’s call, you can learn and grow even from your failures.

When you answer God’s call, it will change your life. You will live a life extraordinary that is empowered by God’s strength. However, if you reject God’s call, you will also change. You will become a little harder, a little more resistant to God’s voice.

Today, Jesus is inviting you to go on the adventure of your life. He wants you to chase that impossible dream, pursue your passion and take on what will bring fulfilment to your life. You may be resisting God’s call because it means having to step into the storm. You may want to stay in the boat where it’s safe, secure and comfortable. It’s stormy and if you get out of the boat, it’s likely that you will sink. But if you don’t get out of the boat, you’ll never walk on water. You’ll never experience the thrill of being empowered by Almighty God. You’ll never know what it means to leave behind a mundane, ordinary life and abandon yourself to the high adventure of following a God who performs miracles.

What’s your boat? Your boat is whatever represents safety and security to you apart from God himself. Your boat is what you put your trust in when you face risk and danger. Your boat is what you find comfortable. Your fear will tell you what your boat is. Ask – what is it that most produces fear in me – especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith? Your boat is what keeps you from bravely trusting God. Leaving your boat is tough and it might be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to do.

You may want to avoid danger by staying in the boat, but not leaving the boat also has its dangers. If you live in the boat, you may die of boredom and stagnation.

Whenever you want to walk on water, you’ll encounter fear. Being scared is the price of growth. When you follow Jesus, it’s a path that will continually throw up temptations to be fearful. As John Ortberg writes:

Here is a deep truth about water-walking: the fear will never go away. Why? Because each time I want to grow, it will involve going into new territory, taking on new challenges. And each time I do that, I will experience fear again. Now you can give up trying to make fear go away. The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life.

Both choices – risk and comfort – tend to grow into a habit. Each time you take a risk, you will be more likely to take another risk. The fear doesn’t go away, but you get used to living with fear. Your fear can’t destroy you, so it doesn’t bother you that much. However, if you resist Jesus’ call to get out of the boat time and time again, His voice becomes quieter in you. Then in the end you don’t hear His call at all.

So learn to embrace the fear and get out of the boat to walk on water. You’ll find that the scariest decision you ever have to make is the wisest one that you have chosen as it’ll enable you to do the miraculous and help you reach your divine destiny, bringing you more joy and fulfilment than you ever thought possible.