Friday, August 5, 2016
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The lady in the airplane seat next to me was from Norway. And I knew she had experienced something I needed to know about-winter months with very long nights and summer months with very long days. With our Native American team planning some major summer outreach among Native young people in Alaska at that point, I was especially interested in what our days would be like up there. My neighbor from Norway made the answer very clear-they'd be endless! She said that even after all the years living there, she could never sleep much in those northern days where there is virtually no dark. I thought, "O-o-o, it should be a lot of fun getting our team to sleep at night, when there is no night." But then I was curious to know about those December days when we have only about nine hours or so of daylight. She told me about a time when it was, in her words, "almost always dark" where she lives. It's hard for me to imagine weeks where you basically never see the light of the sun. It's not hard for me to imagine the way my Norwegian neighbor said many people feel during that time - really depressed.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "When It's Dark All the Time."
A long, depressing darkness. You don't have to live in the North Country to know what darkness like that feels like-in your heart. It may have been winter inside your soul for a long time; maybe concealed from others by your smiling mask or a really busy life. But it's still dark inside most of the time.
Maybe it's the guilt of mistakes that you've made that has brought on the long winter. Or just this nagging sense of worthlessness that goes way back, or a chronic despair over the pain of your past or maybe the meaninglessness of the present, or it could be the darkness might be summed up in one increasingly, desperate word-loneliness. But whatever the cause, this heaviness inside, this relentless darkness has been there long enough.
The end of a long, long night can begin with a hope-filled promise made by Jesus Christ-who has never made a promise He did not keep. It's our word for today from the Word of God in John 8:12, "Jesus said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" Jesus promises that if you belong to Him, if you stay close to Him, He will lead you out of the darkness that no one else has been able to dispel. And that's the beginning of the end of your long, dark winter in your soul.
But only Jesus can replace your darkness with what He called "the light of life." Why? Because our problem really isn't the darkness. Near the North Pole in winter, the problem is that the sun doesn't shine there. Our problem isn't ultimately the darkness of our loneliness or our despair. It's the absence of the Light! We were created to live in the light of a love-relationship with our Creator, which we have lost by running our lives our way instead of His way. In God's words, "Your sins have separated you from your God." (Isaiah 59:2)
That separation could only be healed by the death penalty for your sin being erased. And that's what was going on when Jesus Christ was bleeding and dying on a cross. He was voluntarily paying for your sin, which is the ultimate cause of the darkness in your soul. And the forgiveness, the peace, and the light that He died to give you becomes yours when you tell Him you're trusting Him to be your Savior from your sin.
If you do that, Jesus will shed His light on every dark stretch you ever walk, including the darkest stretch of all, when one day you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Why don't you open your heart to Jesus today right where you are? It's been dark long enough. Tell Him, "Jesus, I'm yours."
If you really want to know that you've begun this relationship with Him, and see what the Bible says about securing that relationship, would you go to our website. I've done my best to explain it there in words that are not religious words – ANewStory.com.
Then this wonderful promise of God will be all about you. "God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves." (Colossians 1:13)