Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Do you remember this?
Gloom, despair, and agony on me;
Deep dark depression, excessive misery;
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all;
Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
Maybe if you watched it you would remember – https://youtu.be/ZAAKPJEq1Ew
Too many of us live this way. Darkness covers us like the dust cloud around Pig Pen in the Peanuts cartoon strip. Everywhere we go we find something wrong with what’s there. Every piece of news we read or hear pushes us deeper into the chasm of cynicism. Every day the darkness gets darker as the light gets dimmer because we have run out of batteries.
The natural response of our hearts to increasing darkness is to draw up closer to ourselves. We pull everything tighter to our chests and protect what little we think we have left. We quickly turn from a giving person to a tightwad when it starts to get dark. We do the same things with our lives that we do with our homes when the sun goes down – we lock the doors behind us, finish some inside tasks, turn off all the lights, and snuggle up with the false security of a blankie, hoping no one breaks in while we sleep.
We have become dependent upon the world. The proof is in our response to crisis.
- Do we respond by protecting ourselves from the darkness, or do we become brighter shiners of God’s light by walking in faith?
- Do we withdraw into the security of our homes and turn off the light of influence to our neighbors?
- Do we shut down the outreach ministries of our church and focus only on the increase of knowledge so we can survive the onslaught of culture’s rebellion against God, or do we fling the doors open wider than ever to rescue as many as possible before Jesus returns and sets it all straight?
- Do we hedge our personal and church funds for the predicted doom or by faith do we give more than ever to shine the light of the Gospel more brightly?
I think the reason the Hee Haw quartet is so funny is that we relate to it so well. In Isaiah 60, verses 1 and 2, the prophet wrote, “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples.” But he also wrote that “the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” He challenges us to “arise, shine, for your light has come.”
Then Isaiah gives us the promises of God for those who ignore the darkness and let the light of the glory of God shine in and through them. These promises, given to the nation of Israel for the day the Lord returns and redeems their land, are for people like you and me as well who let His light shine.
- You will be radiant – verse 5
- Your heart will throb and swell with joy – verse 5
- You will be blessed with prosperity – verses 5-7 (No, I am not teaching the false prosperity gospel, but rather affirming what the Lord said that whatever we sow we will reap.)
- God’s glory will fill the church – verse 7
- Your enemies will become your friends and serve you – verses 10-11
- Respect will return to you – verses 14-15
- Peace will come to you – verses 17-18
- Complete dependence upon God will be the norm – verses 19-20
- Righteousness and justice will rule your life – verse 21
All that can be ours if we choose to let the Light of God shine through us instead of succumbing to the darkness around us. No more gloom, despair, and agony on us. The glory of the Lord has come upon us. Arise, and let His light shine.