Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

encouragement for dark days Archive

Thursday

11

August 2022

Flip the switch

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Even on days when we can’t see the sun in the sky, the sun is still shining.

One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun! (Matthew Henry) Read more on hopereflected.com

There is always light

There is always light. It may be blocked from our view by clouds and storm systems, some days may be duller than others, but the sun is still shining. And as big as our world seems, the sun is bigger still, and is earth’s main source of light. Matthew Henry wrote that, “One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. What a dark dungeon would the world be without the sun!”

Unfortunately, many are trapped in a dark dungeon. “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Proverbs 4:19). Before we come to Christ and confess our deep need for His light, we are stuck in the dark.

Reaching for the Light

Throughout the Psalms, David refers to God as the one who provides light for the darkness (Psalm 18:28), enlarges his steps (Psalm 18:36), and lights his path (Psalm 119:105). Unless and until we confess our desperate need for a Saviour, we remain in the dark. That’s not a good place to be. “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;” (Psalm 107:10). Affliction, chains, and death; what a way to go through life! We all know what it’s like to stumble around in the darkness, and it usually involves stubbing our toe on a night stand or walking headfirst into a door jam. When we’re in the dark and we have the option of turning on a light, do we not reach for the nearest light switch so we can see what we’re doing and where we’re going?

The Light of the world

So why do so many of us insist on stumbling through life in the dark, when we’ve got immediate access to the light? “I am the light of the world:” Jesus said, “he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12). In the book of John alone, there are eight references that I can find where Jesus is referred to as the light of the world. With Christ, we’re promised that we won’t walk in darkness.

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me

shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Perhaps you feel as though you’re stuck in the dark and though you’ve been grasping and groping in the dark, you can’t find the light switch. The practical, immediate way to access the light? The Bible. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105). When we allow God’s Word to be our guide, He keeps us on the right path, so we don’t stub our toes or walk headfirst into obstacles.

Light casts out darkness, provides direction, and dissolves discouragement.

Need some light in your life? Read more about the importance of light here.

Originally published as “Flip the switch.” Independent Plus. February 17, 2022: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

30

December 2021

With us always

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

No matter who is against us, even when we are surrounded with opposition, God is with us.

"No matter what is in front of you, you don't have to face it alone." Read about how God is with us always on hopereflected.com

He is with us.

“And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:11). The Lord was with Paul, and He is with us. As Matthew Henry wrote, “Whoever is against us, we need not fear, if the Lord stand by us.”

No matter what we face, we don’t face it alone.

As the new leader of the children of Israel, tasked with leading them into Canaan after the death of Moses (talk about intimidating!), Joshua needed to be reminded more than once that God was with him. First, Moses assured Joshua of God’s presence in Deuteronomy 31:6 when Joshua was commissioned to be Moses’ successor. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

There is no greater reassurance than the presence of God.

Then, as he prepared for the conquest of Canaan, Joshua needed to be reminded by the Lord Himself that God was with him. “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9). Whatever season we are going into, there is no greater reassurance than the presence of God. Even when we face unknowns and uncertainty, we don’t face it alone. We need to be reminded of this frequently!

"I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:20). Read about how God is always with us on hopereflected.com

David, nearing the end of his life, reminded himself of God’s presence, when he penned Psalm 23. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (v. 4). After a lifetime of danger, death, and no shortage of drama, David recalled how no matter what he faced – even in death – God was with him.

“…for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Joshua 1:9 (KJV)

Thousands of years later, these inspired words are often-quoted and continue to provide hope to God’s people, even in the darkest of times. What a comfort that even in the deepest valley and under constantly cloudy skies, the Great Shepherd still leaves His flock to come and find us, and bring us back. His rod and His staff guide us and defend us wherever we are.

"Jesus didn't say He might be with us, He didn't say, "I was," in past tense. He says in very present tense, "I am with you always."" Read about how God is always with you on hopereflected.com

Our Lord is with us, always.

Jesus Himself gave this promise, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus didn’t say He might be with us. He didn’t say, “I will be,” in future tense, or “I was,” in past tense. He says in very present tense, “I am with you always”. Jesus doesn’t claim to be with us sometimes, or only when we’re good. He promises that He is with us always. No matter where we are, no matter who we face, and no matter what season we’re coming into or coming out of – it does not matter what – our Lord is with us, always.

Originally published as “With us always.” Independent Plus. July 29, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Thursday

5

August 2021

Illumination

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

The Bible says "and it came to pass," It did not come to stay! God is with us. Read more at hopereflected.com

We are living in some dark days. People are plagued with anxiety and stress, and are grappling with grief. It’s easy to caught up in our circumstances; just look around.

It came to pass

What’s not easy during times of distress is remembering that this season will end. Throughout the Bible we read, “And it came to pass,” – it’s been said before that these words can act as a reminder that everything comes to pass, it does not come to stay! Dark days can be daunting, discouraging, and demoralizing, but God, even in our darkest days, is still with us. Even when we think He is being silent, even when we think He is not near, and even when we think He doesn’t know what’s going on.

“God, even in our darkest days, is still with us.”

Hope Reflected

God is our source of light

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). David penned this psalm after Saul’s death (we think we’re living in difficult times; for a reality check, read about Saul and David’s tumultuous relationship in 1 Samuel). Being relieved of someone who tried multiple times to kill him wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Being crowned king wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Only the Lord could enlighten David’s darkness. To what, to whom, and where are we looking to light our candle? No person, no place, no possession can do it for us; only God can enlighten our darkness. He is our source of light.

Where do we find light when we’re having trouble seeing in the dark? “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8). Similar to another psalm he wrote (Psalm 119), David uses Psalm 19 to praise the virtues of God’s Word. Among them, “enlightening the eyes”. Cheer and comfort, commandment and correction, everything we need to navigate the darkness can be found in God’s Word.

“I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

The Power of Prayer

We can also find light for our darkest days through prayer. Yes, to the tired soul it may sound trite, but it is true. When we pray, we understand that the eyes of our understanding are enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). Prayer should always be a priority, but it’s a misconception that our prayers must always be pretty and put together. When we come before Him, He sees every tear we cry. God doesn’t merely comfort us; He collects our tears and keeps track of them (Psalm 56:8). Our Lord knows every thought, even the ones we don’t acknowledge to Him (Psalm 139:2). Even when we can’t speak, God hears every groan (Exodus 2:24, Psalm 6:6). C.S. Lewis wrote that, “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” Getting closer to God is of utmost importance at all times, even when we find ourselves in dark days. Jesus promises, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Originally published as “Illumination.” Independent Plus. February 18, 2021: 5. Print. Web.