21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness. – Isaiah 8:21-22
Just about every child grows up with the same gripping fear – fear of the dark. Darkness ushers in fear of so many unknowns. What is in the closet? Is a monster under my bed? Am I all alone?
But as it turns out, this fear isn’t just relegated to kids. As kids grow into adults, many things change, but fear of the darkness remains. The only difference being – as a child we are fearful of the darkness without, but as adults we are terrified of the darkness within.
If we’re honest, the darkness within terrifies us. The ugly darkness of selfishness, jealousy, deception, pride, secret sin, insecurity, and regret haunts us. We’ll do just about anything in our power to avoid looking at the monster within. We’ll watch hours of TV or work late to avoid our discomfort with the darkness. We’ll drink and eat to numb the pain. We will fill our schedules with distractions and guard our true selves against being discovered with towering walls of pretense.
After all, what would happen if we looked within? God forbid anyone else catch a glimpse.
If the truth were told, we are even afraid of the light, because light exposes what is hidden in the darkness. But much like naïve children, we do not realize there is a greater force against the darkness at our beckon. Much like a parent who with their very presence makes the power of darkness flee, the presence of Jesus and His grace makes our own darkness dissipate. If you are walking in darkness, there is hope in the dawning of light.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” – Isaiah 9:2
The Apostle of John described the Advent of the Messiah like this:
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world…That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” – John 1:9 & 5
This light was not merely a metaphor. Jesus came to break the hold of darkness on the lives of His people. Jesus came as the light to heal brokenness. Jesus came as the light to expose injustice and sin. Jesus came as the light to overcome your darkness too.
The bright light of the Gospel – that Jesus came to your rescue – to take on your darkness and die in your place – is more powerful than anything shadow within you. The Cross has made a way for you to be free from your fear. Jesus came near to you, so that you could be near to Him. You don’t have to be afraid of the darkness within. The light of grace has shone upon you and made you free from sin and guilt. Even more so, the light has made you new.
Further Reading: John 1:1-18.
Reflection: Where do you need to let the light in this Advent season? Would you be willing to trust Jesus with what you are most afraid of? He already knew you, and still chose to love you. What more do you need than that kind of perfect love.