Path of Life: Hope

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Truth be told, we are all afraid of the dark.

It varies, of course, from person to person, but if the darkness is thick enough, cold enough, menacing enough, it will get to any of us. Jesus said evil people preferred darkness to light because their deeds were evil. That’s why we fear the dark—some evil is out there in the dark lying in wait for the innocent—for people like us!

Who can say how much of our country’s economy is spent on keeping back the darkness–not just in streets and buildings and alleyways and sidewalks, but also the darkness of ignorance and injustice, of addiction and avarice, of crime and corruption?  Whatever it costs, it is worth it. The contrast between light and dark is so readily recognized we use these words as metaphors for righteousness and wickedness, for truth and deception.

Taking imagery a step further, we speak of hope as light and despair as darkness. Hope, like a beam of light, splits the thick darkness of the moment. It illumines the steps we must take today and tomorrow showing clearly the hazards choking the dark path before us. Hope is the brightening of the sky in the east that signals the end of a long and dangerous night.

Of course, this ever-present Hope has a name—Jesus, the Light of the World, the Hope of the World. My favorite biblical poet, Isaiah, describes the Hope Messiah brings:

“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.”

Not some flickering glimmer, but a steady beam that breaks through the fog of confusion, melts the clouds of gloom and sadness, and fills us with the light of day.

Breaking this personal light out of any bushel basket we may have put it in, we can be fearless! Isaiah goes on to say…

“Arise! Shine!  For your Light has come!
Darkness covers the earth and deep gloom engulfs the peoples
but the Lord will rise upon you.”

The Psalmist also trumpets the character of God with these words,

“The hope of the poor will not be taken away.”

To say there is no darkness is itself, darkness. Darkness is real. Darkness is dangerous. But the Christ-follower has light within and without,

  • a heart-light to illumine the secret soul and
  • a lamp and a lantern for the pathway ahead.

Every window of the soul we can open to the Lord will be filled with light. He is not stingy with it.  It is His nature—Truth, Power, Love—all in motion, streaming through our window and into our darkened space.

More sure than the sunrise that chases shadows across the face of the earth, His light radiates to us in mercy and peace.

Truth be told, we need not fear the dark.

Isaiah 9:2; 60:1-3 NIV
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning.”

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer
© 2023 by Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

Path of Life: Hope

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