Don’t be Afraid of the Dark

Author: Pastor Don McFarlane
December 27, 2018

I am guessing that we have all experienced the fearful side of darkness. This for some of us may just have been the mild darkness that settled in our bedroom as Mom turned the light off and kissed us good-night or, as in my case as a child, the impenetrable blackness that enveloped my village a short while after the sun went down each evening, made even darker by the tales spun by story-tellers about the creatures that inhabit the places where there is no light.  Perhaps the experience I dreaded most as a child was being sent to the shop at night. Whistling all the way to and from the shop was my way of giving the impression that I was in control of the situation and was not afraid. The truth is I was very afraid. The slightest sound caused my heart to beat with the rapidity of a moth’s wings fluttering wildly against a hot light. Relief came only as I arrived back in my yard and saw the dim glow of the living room light.

As frightening as the darkness of night was in my village, the more unnerving darkness is that which saps our optimism, depletes our energy, dissipates our emotional strength and robs us of our purpose in life.  No doubt some of you who are reading this article have experienced that darkness in one way or another during 2018. It may have been the sudden and unexpected death of a parent or a child, the loss of employment, the news that the big “C” has you in its grip, a daily struggle to make ends meet, or even a degree of confusion about what God is doing in your life. Like many others, 2018 cannot end soon enough for you.

If you have been stumbling through the dark during 2018, God offers you a special and personal gift. It is the gift of faith! Oftentimes, faith is presented as a quality or a state of mind that we must achieve all by ourselves in order to access God’s storehouse of goodies. But when darkness sets in, the prospect of mustering faith may not even be on our radar. It is at such times that God gently extends his hand of faith to us and reminds us that “… on those living in the land of the shadow of death light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16).

Christ, whose birth we have just celebrated, is that light. John says of Him, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5). A more personal way of saying this is that we can always find a way out of our darkness when we are willing to trust Jesus. Darkness cannot linger long in His presence. It is tempting at times to question God’s actions or inaction in our pain and dark experiences. We have all done it, but it is comforting to know that God does not punish us for questioning His providences. Instead He reminds us that Jesus came into our world to address the root causes of our dark experiences and lead us to light eternal.

Evangeline Cory Booth, the fourth General of the Salvation Army, soon after reaching her eightieth birthday was asked, “Have you always been sure of your faith?” She replied, “I have had my dark moments. Why did my Mom die of cancer? Why did my father go blind?.” Then she added, “God would not be much of a God if I understood Him perfectly.”

As you look back on 2018 and look forward to 2019, accept God’s gift of faith and in so doing be assured that He knows what He is doing in your life. Have faith in His providence. Believe that the darkness of your circumstances will NEVER extinguish the light of His love for love. Don’t be afraid of the dark!
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