No matter how dark things appear, light is breaking through, always. The question is, will we see it? When difficulties come, it’s so easy to focus on the challenges and disappointments, and in that, to forget the heart, power, presence, and purposes of Christ.
I’ve noticed something lately, something that happens again and again. So often, my most challenging moments, in Christ’s hands, become so life-giving. When C19 hit, my ministry lost an entire year of conferences, and therefore a year worth of funding. At the time, I felt confused and uncertain. But God used the pause and our renewed focus on Him to lead us into new, increasingly fruitful territory.
This pattern has played out in my relationships as well. When we lived in Southern California, my marriage was in a rough place. I felt so alone and ached to connect deeply with my husband, but the hours and stress of his job routinely stole him from me. For a while, the situation seemed to get worse. But even then, God was working, revealing things to both of us we too easily ignored prior. That dark period became a catalyst for change and growth.
Perhaps the most vivid light-piercing-darkness event occurred when I first became sick. Initially, fighting my illness alone, I tried various supplemental “cures.” The more out of control my body felt, the more I fought for control. By the time I sought a doctor and received a diagnosis, my latent, previously manageable and largely “ignored” OCD morphed into obvious germaphobia.
That period was so hard on all of us, but it also led to deep healing. We couldn’t justify or downplay my behavior anymore. I wasn’t simply focused or particular. When life became challenging and darkness pressed in, it squeezed out my inner gunk that we had learned to ignore.
We could’ve become suffocated by the darkness. Instead, by God’s grace, we linked arms, turned to Jesus, and steadily sought and followed His light. And His light indeed broke through in such a beautiful, life-giving way. While this didn’t eliminate our pain, that period changed us, for the better.
Speaking of Jesus, John 1:4-5 says, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV).
Jesus didn’t come during a rosy time in history. Lives were ravished by King Herod’s infanticide, Roman oppression, poverty and hunger, leprosy and the lifelong isolation that accompanied it. But God was doing a mighty work not even the most powerful tyrannical ruler or most devastating disease could halt. He was bringing life to the dead and piercing the darkness with light.
The Pharisees couldn’t see this. They were blinded, distracted by the darkness, the darkness within themselves, yes, but also all the oppression and uncertainty in their world. All they could see was what they might lose, should this faith-movement continue: Their prestigious roles as religious leaders, their already tenuous relationship with the Roman authorities, their way of life. They couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, see the light—the gift of life and freedom Christ offered.
No matter what 2021 brings, I refuse to be like them. I refuse to become so engulfed in today’s challenges that I fail to see God’s light breaking through. Because I know it’s there. It always is, a light nothing, not the pain of today or the uncertainty of tomorrow, can extinguish.
Speaking of intentionally seeing and pursuing the light, I invite you to begin your new year determined to walk in God’s truth. Join me as I read—and write—chronologically through the New Testament. Each week, we’ll kick off with a devotional post, similar to today’s, followed by five days of suggested reading.
Day one: Mark 1:1, Luke 1:1-4, John 1:1-5
Day two: John 1:6-18
Day three: Luke 1;5-17
Day four: Luke 1:18-25
Day five: Luke 1:26-38
Let’s talk about this!
How is God’s light breaking through your circumstances this month? And perhaps more importantly, how can you seek out and hold tight to that light when dark circumstances hit? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and make sure to connect with me on Facebook and Instagram.
And speaking of God’s light breaking through relational challenges …