Walking in the Light of God
If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin (1 John 1:6-7 MSG).
I am filled with a spirit of conviction and truth whenever I read this passage from 1 John. God is always present in my life, no matter where I am or what I am doing. Although I may be able to tell lies to myself and even to other people, God is always aware of the truth.
Night blindness is something I have struggled with for close to five years now—which means that I am no longer able to drive at night, which is a very frustrating restriction. It was a scary situation when this problem first started. It was like attempting to operate a vehicle with only a peephole in the windshield. I had a vital choice to make then: either I kept driving in the dark, crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t get into an accident, or I did what was responsible and not drive after it got dark.
Even though each of the verses above refers to a slightly different concept, it is still possible to recognize the parallels between them. Anyone can have a relationship with God—but walking in His light (truth and obedience) requires us to come out of the darkness (sin and worldly ways).
When I was younger, I often heard people use the “putting on your church pants” phrase. Even though it might be a silly expression, the meaning behind it is correct. On Sunday mornings, we get dressed in our Sunday best and head to church. We also change our attitude and demeanor to reflect our best Christian selves. Monday through Saturday, our lives are busy and can be difficult, which can lead us to do things that take our attention away from God and cause us to sin. That is why we need our Father God and His guidance to help us navigate life better. He is aware that none of us is perfect.
I am comforted to know that God is my Light in this dark world, and I am grateful for His acceptance of me in spite of my flaws—and His encouragement that helps me to keep trying. I am grateful for His love that washes away my sin and enables me to consistently choose to be my true best self—every day, not just on Sunday.
The Power of Miracles
By Jessica Van Roekel, crosswalk.com
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is like our great God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.” Psalm 77:11-14, ESV
The passage of time stretched out like an unending journey. Light had vanished and left me afraid. Prayers went unanswered, and I cried out for the Lord to do something, but every day I faced the same struggles. My heart felt frozen, my mind numb, and I went through the motions of my daily tasks. I doubted God’s presence in my life and accused him of ignoring me.
At times it can feel like we’ve been sidelined. We pray for healing in our bodies or relationships, and things get worse and worse. We wonder when it will be our turn for a miracle. We cry and plead, but God seems silent. The agony of silence gives way to an outburst of anger or disappointment. Psalm 77 helps us express our frustration but also points our hearts toward God’s goodness.
Everyone faces days of trouble because trouble is part of our world. It serves several purposes. It’s an opportunity for our spiritual roots to go deeper as we choose to trust God with the unknowns that lie before us. The thing with troubles is that we don’t have a guaranteed outcome, and we like outcomes we can count on. In the end, victory is ours, but when the beginning seems long ago, the middle can seem unending.
What do we do when the middle seems long and victory far off? Losing seems imminent and retreat the only way forward. We remember that our miracle unfolds day by day and we turn to the past to propel us forward. Sometimes we can’t see God clearly in our own lives, but that’s when we can turn to the Bible for encouragement.
We find encouragement as we trace God’s faithful heart and his miraculous deeds throughout the Old and New Testaments. When we remember how he parted the Red Sea for the Israelites, we can look for how he made a way in our lives too. Our parting of seas might look like the strength to walk into the oncologist’s office. It’s this reliance on God for the very next step that reveals more of the unfolding miracle he does in our day-to-day lives.
Our hearts grow stronger when we remember the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament. Her journey to healing lasted years and cost her a place in society, and crippled her finances. No one could help her. Her way was darkened with discouragement. Yet Jesus. She wove her way through the crowds, convinced that a single touch of Jesus’ hem would heal her. Her persistence led to her miracle. The woman’s example gives us the courage to persist and helps us see where we stayed the course even though we felt unheard. Our persistence is part of our miracle too.
We may find ourselves in situations that seem as impassable as a wide sea. There’s no way around it, and our enemies grow ever closer. We can surrender, or we can keep searching for a way through, trusting that God will be with us through it. That’s just as much of a miracle as the seas parting and our enemies disappearing. God goes with us. He is our strength and companion for the troubled waters ahead.
God carried me through that time when I felt abandoned by him all those years ago. Like the woman with the issue of blood, I persisted in seeking him. And the miracle was a slow unfolding of grace as he met me, drew me closer to him, and renewed my heart
Isaiah 52:13-15 13See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. 14Just as there were many who were appalled at him– his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness– 15so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Isaiah wrote four prophetic songs about the suffering servant. They so beautifully describe the life of Jesus that it is a wonder some cannot see it and that the Jews of that day did not recognize Him. The wisest thing Jesus could have done for those He loved was to lay down His life. In the passage today we see the cross raised, lifted into place, and the Son of God highly exalted. Though His body was beaten and torn beyond human recognition, He became the sacrifice whose blood would be our atonement.
Kings bow before the wonder of His sacrificial death. They cannot speak in the presence of One whose love is so great that He would die to give them life. Pilate did not know the prophecies were being fulfilled before his eyes. Kings have not heard the Gospel and yet somehow will know that God has made a Way. God has revealed His Arm, Christ Jesus, and ever since the world has looked in awe at the wonder of His life and death in our place.
Who would ever have guessed that God loved us to that extent? We sit in silence pondering the amazing love of God and our lack of gratitude for it. How could He love us so? The suffering Servant bore our sins that we might forever be right with God. Let the wonder of it grow within your heart.
Consider: See that you never grow calloused toward that great display of His love for you.