John 3:19-21 (NIV)“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(The Message) “This is the crisis we are in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the world can be seen for the God-work it is.”
I must admit – I am having a lot of difficulty writing about this. It is so…. dark…. and scary… and sad... and final…..
I have led quite a protected, safe life. I have not been exposed to many people who make a practice of doing evil, or who hate God-light. I have been exposed to apathetic people. I have known “luke-warm” people (who Jesus warns is even worse). I have known people who are living their lives with the attitude of “I will think about that God-stuff later.” I know “nice” people who live “nice” lives, but who have no relationship with the Savior. But again, I haven’t known truly evil people who openly hate God.
On Christmas Eve, I cried. Scripture verses were read about the Light coming into the world – but the world did not recognize Him. I thought of all the people who were shopping – wrapping gifts – preparing meals – traveling – yet not bothering to worship the New-Born King. They completely missed the point of Christmas Eve. Everything was just sooo important - and there wasn't time to go to church. But, I had to pull myself together, because I had to get back up on stage after the Sermon and sing some more. Later, when I fell into bed – I cried. I cried for God. I cried because I thought of how sad He must have been – watching His world hustle and bustle – yet “missing” the Light of the World. What more can He possibly do to catch His people’s attention? I ached for Him.
I realize that this example is a little bit different than the verses above – but it is where my mind wandered. There are those who hate the Light – -there are those who don’t know the Light and there are those who are just too busy to notice the Light. All of them are in darkness. And all of them are lost.
So – I am depressed. I feel like the darkness is just too oppressive right now. I must go read the verses before today’s reading – and find some Hope. I Thank God for the verses before this section of Scripture!
Three short verses before this section of hopelessness, and darkness, and evil, is the most famous section of Scripture of all times….
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”
"Thank You Father – for loving the whole world – even those who are still trapped in darkness – even those who are still trapped in evil – even those who are apathetic -- Thank You for Your infinite Grace and Mercy – that YOU still love them and desire that they should come to know You, repent, believe, and be saved. Thank You for Your Salvation – for everyone. Thank You for Your Redemption – for everyone. Thank You that You have overcome evil and darkness. Lord, have mercy. I pray that those who hate Your God-Light will somehow, someday come to know You - before it's too late. I pray that those of us reading this Scripture, would feel the incredible importance of doing something about those living in darkness. Father, we hurt and cry over the lost people of this world – we pray for them, we lift them up to You - we pray for opportunities to tell them about You - we pray for more chances to share Your Good News of Salvation with them. Amen."