Monday, January 4, 2016

Master’s Monday: The Light Shines in the Darkness

I don’t know how many of you make it a practice to watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day. This year was my first for experiencing that tradition, though I got in on it a couple of days late through the handy medium of YouTube. At the moment, the recorded version claims to have reached 2.5 million views.

It was so refreshing to hear a world leader unabashedly identifying herself as a Christian. I especially appreciated the fact that she chose to center her speech around John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Fitting words for a world that has experienced so much darkness this year.

At the recommendation of a friend, I tried out another “first” this week and read through the book of Habakkuk in one sitting. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was struck by the similarities between the time of darkness described by that prophet and that of our own 21st century. Indeed, it often seems no nation is secure from “plundering and violence,…strife and contention.”

            The law is powerless,
            And justice never goes forth.
            For the wicked surround the righteous;
            Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

Sound familiar? As we live in the midst of such dark times, we may despair of a final resolution. We find it hard to imagine an act of justice that could ever right all wrongs and restore the world to its intended good. But the amazing good news of God is not only a promise for final restoration at the end of time. It is also an affirmation of light in the midst of darkness, here and now, and for as long as the darkness is allowed to continue. Yes, it will one day be banished—permanently. But until then, we can trust that the darkness has not—and will not—ever overcome the God-sent light shining in its midst.

At the end of his book, the prophet Habakkuk comes to the same conclusion, reminding himself and all of us that we have been offered the privilege of helping to spread that light throughout the world.

            Though the fig tree may not blossom,
            Nor fruit be on the vines;
            Though the labor of the olive may fail,
            And the fields yield no food;
            Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
            And there be no herd in the stalls—
            Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
            I will joy in the God of my salvation.
            The LORD God is my strength
            He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
            And He will make me walk on my high hills.

No matter how lightless the world may appear, we each are presented with the choice every day to “rejoice in the LORD,” and take joy “in the God of my salvation.” Only He can give us the strength we need to scale every mountain and to sing His joy to the world.