Tonight I went on a walk, one of those walks you take when you really have to contemplate. Although it was pitch-black outside, I live in a safe neighborhood. I justified the late hour for some evening calorie burn and mind clarity.
Things started to get eerie pretty quickly. Not all of the streetlights were working properly, and not as many houses I passed had that Thomas Kinkade glow I had been hoping for. Not to mention the fact an older man, while power walking with the same idea as I had, scuffed his tennis shoes a little too loudly, causing me to jump. In my head I had no reason to be frightened—I was only a half mile away from my warm home—but my heart told me otherwise. My pace quickened, along with my pulse.
Sometimes our spiritual pulse does the same thing.
We get into dark situations that, in this life, are unavoidable. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a Christian, a child of the Light. Just as that six o’clock hour rolls around and the sun sets every evening, the darkness of this world is inevitable—in fact, it is to be expected. Suffering, darkness, persecution—these are guarantees in a fallen world. Jesus tells us, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world” (John 16:33a).
It is tempting to be discouraged at the darkness. With the tragic events that happened in Orlando this past week, it feels natural to sit in silence, in the darkness of our mourning and our pain.
Still, I think Jesus calls us to an awareness of the darkness. He tells us numerous times throughout the New Testament to be aware of the powers of darkness at war around us, of false teachers, of suffering, of persecution.
In the midst of all this, I can’t help but be reminded of Psalm 139. While rehearsing the options of where he can run, where he can escape from the presence of God, David justifies, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night” (v. 11). Surely political powers and clashing religions and bigotry and physical hardship will be enough for the darkness to encompass us. But David reminds himself in the next verse, “Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.”
What if we lived with that truth engrained in our hearts? What if the principle of God’s presence echoed so loudly within our minds that it blocked the latest disheartening radio broadcast? What if, instead of wallowing in our darkness, or running away from it, or anxiously panicking through it, we walked with sound hearts and minds solely fixed on the Kingdom above? Surely that would be enough to silence any fears. After all, Jesus said, “Be courageous! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b).
I have come to believe that fearlessness is not the absence of fear—it is the pushing through it—it is walking through the darkness, with eyes piercing in the pitch black, feet set toward the Light of home.
Caroline Case is a proud Nashville transplant from Naples, Florida, who serves as the production editor for Lifeway’s SmallGroup.com and Discipleship in Context teams. Caroline is currently in graduate school at Belmont University pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in English and Creative Writing, in hopes of inspiring and encouraging others with the written word.
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