“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:5
We have not only become accustomed to hearing stories of shootings, wars, violence and hatred but we live in the midst of it – seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling it on a daily basis. The truth is that we live in a world that is broken and dark.
Feelings of shock, anger, fear and disgust have become our ongoing responses to the darkness around us. The shock continues to paralyze us. The anger still overwhelms us. Fear seems to have a strong grip on us. And disgust pollutes our responses. The dark reality we live in seem to only make hopelessness grow and helplessness real. For some, living in denial of the darkness in our world or retaliating that very darkness with darkness appears to be the only sane thing to do.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In the midst of our varied feelings and responses we need to recognize and name darkness and light for what it is. Darkness is not good and cannot be justified as good and cannot be used to fight darkness itself. Only light can expose dark deeds and extinguish darkness. The Gospel of John reminds us of the first Advent by telling us that the one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world (John 1:9). Who was this true light John was referring to?
It was Jesus, the Christ. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” He said, “all who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going” (John 8:12; 12:46; 3:20; 12:35).
Not only do we need to recognize and name darkness and light for it is, but we also need to learn how to live in the darkness as people of light.
Waiting in darkness involves a hopeful and an active presence in the light so that the darkness does not consume us. It involves trusting Jesus the constant light and trusting that we are called to be that light. When waiting is precisely this, living in the midst of darkness becomes not just bearable, but purposeful and hopeful (Matthew 5:14).
May our wait in darkness be hopeful as we trust Jesus, the light. May we respond to darkness with light and not with darkness. As the Apostle Paul writes:”Brothers and sisters…the moment is here for you to stop sleeping and wake up, because by now our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe. The night is nearly over, daylight is on the way; so let us throw off everything that belongs to the darkness and equip ourselves for the light (Romans 13:11-12).
Samuel Williams is co-founder & content director at Fluid. He is also the teaching pastor at Avenue Community Church in Toronto, Canada.