darkness (어둠)

Ecclesiastes 2:14 (ESV)

14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to them all.

 

Darkness. 어둠.

To be completely blind is actually quite scary. Stumbling around with no idea of where one is or where one is going.

Yet I don’t think we consider the impact of our spiritual blindness.

It’s as if we’re ignorant of our own blindness. Like we don’t know any better.

But how good is it to see a light in the dark. The hope and joy it brings is indescribable.

We are told by the Apostle John that Jesus is the ‘true light, which gives light to everyone‘ (John 1:9) and that this ‘… light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ (John 1:5)

What good news!

His death was not in vain but in fact defeated ‘death forever’ as prophesied. (Isaiah 25:8)

We would do well to be wise and not foolish.

Kim+

prayer : thank you for Jesus, the light in the darkness

action : shine as a light in this dark world (Philippians 2:15)

now you have received mercy

1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

How great it is to receive mercy.

The overwhelming relief. The love and gratitude we then feel in return.

How can we possibly repay our maker? What can we do in return for our redeemer?

Whatever it might be it can never be enough. The debt is too great.

Yet we’re told all our debts to God are forgiven. We are absolved of the need to repay Him.

Leaving us free to serve Him as we ought. With a clear conscience.

As one who is ‘chosen’. One of His ‘people’. Part of His ‘royal priesthood’.

Made ‘holy’ in His sight. And thus set apart for His good purposes.

In part, to show grace and mercy to others.

And what better way than by sharing our faith through ‘proclaiming’ His ‘excellencies’.

Kim+

prayer : may I fully appreciate the gift of ‘light’ and my rescue from ‘darkness’

action : help me to ‘proclaim’ boldly and faithfully

count it all joy

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” James 1:2 (ESV)

Following on from my last post, I want to keep looking at this subject of joy.

It’s a natural reaction to be joyful when things are good. To praise God when everything is going well. When we experience success. Not failure.

But what happens when it all turns to crap? Do we blame God?

Do we throw our frustration at Him? Questioning His good judgement? Abusing His wisdom?

“Trials” are a necessary part of our growth.

I know from my running that stress is required for improved performance.

As we adapt to these small stresses, we are then better able to withstand the extreme ones.

It doesn’t necessarily feel good at the time. It may be uncomfortable, even painful.

But there is a greater purpose behind these “trials”.

And God has promised that He will never “leave [us] nor “forsake [us]” (Hebrews 13:5).

Kim+

prayer : that God the Father will “deliver [me] from evil” (Matthew 6:13)

action : trust God that He has my best interests at heart

When the Darkness Will Not Lift

I’m currently reading a short book by John Piper.

It’s a book that is particularly helpful to Christians suffering from sadness, anxiety and depression.

Not that I am personally in this situation. But it’s a useful tool to help those who are.

We know that joy is a “fruit of the spirit”. One of many.

It’s part-and-parcel of our justification although, like fruit, it grows with our sanctification.

But, for many people, their life can feel devoid of joy.

They sink to the bottom of a big, black whole of unhappiness that they’re powerless to dig themselves out of.

We need to understand that despite being forgiven, we’re still sinners. We remain imperfect.

Yet Piper says that we should “fight for joy like a justified sinner” 1

This joy is a gift from God. It’s ours for the taking.

And any guilt we feel must be mitigated by the knowledge that God’s “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

For Christ’s “power is made perfect in [our] weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When we stumble, when we fall, Christ will grab a hold of our outstretched hand and haul us out of the mire (Psalms 69:14).

To then place us on solid ground.

Full of “gutsy guilt”.

Gutsy guilt means learning to live on the rock-solid truth of what happened for us when Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again from the dead.” 2

Therefore, no matter what our circumstances, “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).

Piper’s words, and those of God, are an immense encouragement when we find ourselves in the darkness of despair.

Piper’s exhortation is to ultimately rely upon God’s “firm foundation” (2 Timothy 2:19). Despite our emotions and ever changing moods.

For God does not change. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Kim+

1. Piper, John. “When the Darkness Will Not Lift.” Crossway Books, 2009.04.03. iBooks.

2. ibid: Piper, John (emphasis added)