Since turning the clocks back an hour last weekend, the days seem a lot shorter. The sun sets so early and the days of November often feel like the saddest, darkest and dreariest of them all. Despite this however, my husband still persists in riding his bike to and from work. As a safety measure he did make some purchases this past weekend that have helped put my mind more at ease: he now has a headlight and a tail-light on his bicycle. He also bought a reflective vest that he wears to make him more visible to fellow travellers.
Chatting with friends last night we remarked to one another how the world is getting to be a darker place on another level. Watching the evening news will transport us in an instant to any corner of the world where we can observe oppression, see scandal, and watch wickedness in many forms. It’s easy to come away feeling afraid or depressed or both. The news we follow in the media is almost always bad news – I suppose it’s what attracts the most viewers and creates a sensation. But it can also cause one to wonder seriously if there is any good news or reason for hope out there in the darkness.
I believe there is lots of good news and cause for optimism – it all depends on where we’re looking. As a Christian I seek to focus my eyes on Jesus, who is the Light of the world. He said that the darkness in our world would increase, but so also would the light. In the Gospel – which means Good News! – we read that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Being a Christ follower, I have strength for today and hope for tomorrow because I know how God’s created world works: day follows night, light follows darkness, spring follows winter, joy follows weeping. The sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve in the Narnia tales by C. S. Lewis knew with certainty that dark evil days and perpetual winter (especially with no Christmas!) were never Aslan’s intention.
Jesus encourages us: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:45). At times in our lives we do find ourselves surrounded by deep darkness — grief, injustice, pain, fear, sickness, economic hardship. But we don’t need to abide there … there is a way out. What we need to do is turn our eyes towards the Light of the World. In so doing we absorb light ourselves and also reflect light for our fellow travellers. Then the darkness that would seek to defeat and immobilize us is dispelled, and we are empowered to come joyously through our days without discouragement or ultimate harm. There will be challenges yes, with danger alongside – but nothing we can’t handle with a little light to illumine the path before us.
Jesus clearly warns that in this world we will have trouble; he also offers certain hope through his declaration: “In me you may have peace … be of good cheer. I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
That’s what I hold on to until – and after – my husband walks through the door safe and sound each evening after his ride home from work. It’s what I’ll hold on to tomorrow when he heads out again with his bike lights on and wearing his reflective vest.