We praise you, Lord God! You treat us with kindness day after day, and you rescue us. – Psalms 68:19 (CEV)
A couple weekends ago, I convinced the hubs to watch The Way Back with me for free on Hulu while I cleaned the family room. The movie is based on the true story of four men who escaped a Soviet concentration camp in the 1940s and walked all the way to India for their freedom. The hubster teased me that I have a serious thing for World War II memoirs right now, but he watched the entire two and a half hours and I loved it, so I’m calling it a win.
He’s right that I’ve been on a serious kick when it comes to memoirs like Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place and Richard Wurmbrand’s Tortured for Christ, though, and I noticed what I love most about them is that they remind us of one big central truth: we will have hard times, but God will rescue us.
(Jesus speaking) In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33b
I thinking about those two books and our memory verses on my way to the train the other day, and how Jesus promises we won’t have to walk in the darkness, because when we follow Him we have the light that leads to life. And I was wondering, what about the people who did have to walk through darkness?
And then it occurred to me that that’s just the point. Jesus brought them through it. In all the memoirs of Christians who survived terrible things, there’s one big thing to notice, and that’s that none of them had to stay in the darkness. Jesus always pulled them out.
There’s another thing I like about the authors, and that’s that each of them hated the darkness. None of them pretended things weren’t so bad. They didn’t settle in the darkness, and that’s important. They knew that darkness never comes from God and that He would rescue them from it. They prayed for rescuing, believed in rescuing, and worked for rescuing, because they knew it could be done, and they didn’t let it make them bitter, because they knew then it would win. One more bitter person equals a little bit darker of a world.
Instead they held onto the light, and when Jesus rescued them, they turned around and told others they could be rescued, too. (Even when others passed away in the concentration camps that Corrie Ten Boom or Richard Wurmbrand were imprisoned in, they passed away with the hope of eternal life because of the good news they shared with them.)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Isn’t that the story of life? That sometimes the darkness will take aim at us, whether it’s with illness or negative people or really bad situations, but that when it does we don’t have to let it overtake us. It doesn’t have to win, because we have the light and we follow The Light of the World. And He specializes in pulling us out of the dark.
When we need a little light, we can remember this – that darkness never comes from Jesus and He’s a really good rescuer. Darkness never has to win.
And for those of us who aren’t going through hard times, that’s awesome. Because we get to shine a light for those who are. We get to live as an act of celebration of His goodness, and we get to tell others how great He is. We get to model that it’s not always going to be dark, and we get to share our joy. And in sharing our joy, we make the world a little bit more like His Kingdom.
David Crowder always says it best…
What’s something that shines God’s light into your life? For me, it’s Jeremiah 29:11 (above) and people who are making things more beautiful around them.
Smiling Businesswoman Holding Bulb by imagerymajestic from freedigitalphotos.net. Adapted for this post by Stephanie Oh.