Are you living in Darkness?
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1: 4,5)
|Jesus, the light of the world
Do you like to be in the dark?
|Rena at the Cabin
In the early years of our marriage when our children were small, my husband and I often vacationed in the north woods of Michigan near Mio. Our sister-in-law’s family owned a cabin there and each summer we would combine our families and spend a week there. It was, and still is a lovely place. I can still hear the squeak of the springs on the screen doors, and the sound of them slamming as the kids ran in and out. I can hear and feel the gentle breezes flowing softly through the tree tops and the welcoming smell of pine needles. I remember also, with not quite as much joy, the gnats that were everywhere and got into our ears, our mouths and our hair. In later years a screened pavilion was constructed to help eliminate this problem.
The drive in from the road was long and a little bumpy. Before entering the drive one of the kids would have to get out and unlatch the gate. They would then hop on it and ride it as it opened. As we neared the end of the drive, the cabin would come into view, sitting there peacefully just as we had left it at the end of our last visit. It was a welcome sight.
The peaceful scene would soon be booming with life as car doors opened and the children bounded out. There were a total of seven children within our two families, aging from the small infant to age ten or twelve. After the three hour drive they were full of energy and before long they were off exploring the surrounding woods while the grownups unpacked the cars and got things settled.
|Dad, bonding with the boys
There was no TV, and in the earlier years before cell phones, there was not even a telephone. The cabin was heated with a fireplace and an old fashioned wood stove which was stoked on mornings and evenings when there was a chill in the air. It seemed that no matter how high the temperature climbed during the day, when the sun went down in the evening it would get very cold.
There were no other modern conveniences, other than electricity. There was no running water and no indoor bathroom. Outhouses don’t smell real pretty so the outhouse was located a ways from the cabin. In order to reach it, one had to follow a little trail through the woods. It was a pretty and peaceful little trail and an easy to follow path to walk down during the daytime, but at night it was dark and a little creepy. It was easy to imagine little eyes hidden in the woods waiting to pounce. Of course in reality, the little creatures in the woods were more afraid of us than we were of them.
|Brenda – a little bored
In the evenings at the cabin we would pop popcorn and play cards or sit around the fireplace playing Come she Come, a guessing game in which one person would secretly pick out an object in the room and make known what color it was. The others would then try to guess what the object was. It was a silly little game, but the kids enjoyed it and it helped the evenings pass by quickly. Lights were usually out by 10:00 O’clock and the children fell asleep immediately after a busy day of play and exploration.
When the lights were turned off the cabin was enveloped in complete and total darkness. It was a physical darkness I had never experienced before my first visit there. There was not a point when the eye would adjust to the darkness and then be able to pick out the shadows of objects in the room. It was a darkness in which one could hold a hand immediately in front of the eye and not be able to see it.
As a child, I remember times when I feared darkness, as I think all children do. As an adult however, I had overcome that fear and knew that light would come again in the morning. I knew my family was safely asleep and I looked forward to the physical rest which darkness offered.
The complete darkness I became aware of at the cabin in the woods however was a little eerie to me. It made me feel insecure. My thoughts were; What if one of the children cries – how will I make my way to him/her if I can’t see? What if someone has to use the outhouse in the night? There were floodlights which could be turned on outside, but they didn’t reach all the way down the path or into the woods. There were several times when as I walked the path to the outhouse at night I imagined danger lurking in the dark woods and it was a welcome relief to return to the safety of the cabin.
I think all of us, both children and adults; feel a little insecure in the dark. In the dark it is difficult to see what is in front of us or behind us. It is difficult to see where we are going and we have a fear that we will bump into things. There are no identifying colors in the dark. It is dangerous to drive a car in the dark without lights to show us the way. We hear things in the dark and quiet of night which we would not notice at all during the day when we are busy and moving about. Those who break the law most often plan their unlawful deeds during the dark of night so they won’t be seen by law enforcement or caught.
I heard a story once, told by a Doctor (a Cardiologist) about a man who had collapsed in his office of heart failure. The Doctor revived this man several times. He was able to bring his heart rhythm back and get him to breath, but then it would stop again. Each time he was brought back to consciousness, the man would scream; Help, I’m in Hell!! The man lived, but had no memory of this.
The Dr. reflected that over the years he had heard many people tell of near death experiences in which they had seen an inviting light beckoning them to follow it. He reflected also that he had heard just as many stories of those who had been close to death, telling that they experienced total, all consuming, smothering darkness.
Whether or not these people actually got a glimpse of heaven or hell, only God knows, but we do know what He tells us in His Word about heaven and about hell.
Hell is most often referred to as a place of darkness, weeping and gnashing (tense grinding) of teeth, pain, unquenchable fire, decay and stench. You may look up these descriptions of hell in Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:41 and in Mark 9:48.
Heaven is described as a city where there are rooms reserved for all believers. The gates of the city will never need to be closed for safety and there will be no night. The presence of God and His Son (the Lamb) will be there to give light. Nothing impure, shameful or deceitful will be allowed to enter. Heaven will be a place of light, love, happiness and contentment, and will be filled with the glory of God. You may read these descriptions of heaven for yourself in John 14:2 and in Revelation 21: 22-27.
Psalm 51: 5 tells us; surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Every person on this earth is born sinful. We are born into darkness. This darkness is not the physical darkness like the darkness I experienced at the cabin in the woods. No, the darkness I am referring to here is a spiritual darkness. It is a darkness that the light of day cannot extinguish. It is a smothering and suffocating darkness where there is no hope for tomorrow. It is a darkness in which all people exist who don’t believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. It is the darkness of sin which leads to eternal punishment in hell.
But thanks be to Jesus for the light of life offered through His suffering, death and resurrection! God sent Him to earth to light the path for all people. In Him was life and that life was the light of men. Jesus promises in John 14:19; Because I live, you also will live.
Like the song writer says; Don’t go riding on that long black train. Rather follow the light of Jesus. He came to light the path to heaven. He vanishes the spiritual darkness we are born into and He promises eternal life for all who believe. In Him there is hope for eternity. If we follow the devil, this life of heartache and pain is the best we will get and what will follow is indescribable horror – for eternity!
I have seen a saying on T- shirts which states; Life’s a Bitch, and then we die. The apostle Paul tells us; If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:19) He then goes on to say in verses 20-22; But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. This is true HOPE!!
Do you live in darkness? Are you riding on the long black train? The spiritual darkness which unbelievers experience in the here and now will end in physical darkness, despair, hopelessness and suffering for eternity.
I invite you to step out into the LIGHT – the glorious light of the SON. It is a spiritual light for the here and now and a physical light which we will view in heaven and which will last for eternity.
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)
In His Holy Name – Gloria Dei! Amen.