One thing that I love about traveling to different countries is the opportunity to go on adventures I would never be able to go on in the United States. While in a country in North Africa, I had the opportunity to explore a cave with friends. We walked down many steps to get to the entrance of the cave. When we finally made it down we squeezed through the small hole our guide led us through. As we explored the cave with our guide (who only got us lost once or twice) it became apparent that we were not in a safe, well-lit American cave. We walked past large holes that would have been the death of us if we had not been paying attention to where our feet went. We climbed up steep inclines and slid down the same, trying to stop before falling through the open spaces.
We each had a flashlight as we entered the cave. At one point we turned them all off and sat in utter darkness and eerie silence. When we turned the lights back on, I was so grateful for them. As we began the trek out of the cave one flashlight was broken against the wall as we slid down an embankment. The others began to dim, one by one. As we huddled together near the remaining lights it became even more important to be aware of each step that we took. We all made it out of the cave, disheveled and covered in mud, but excited about the grand adventure we had and thankful for the lights that remained to the end.
There are times in my life with chronic illness when I feel like I am back in that cave in North Africa. It’s dark and hard to see the light. There are many “holes” that I could fall into at any moment. The hole of fear, the hole of coveting the life that a healthy person has and the things he is able to do, the hole of talking foolishly – not thinking before I speak words that are hurtful and untrue and absurd – not being careful of where I step. Perhaps the biggest hole of all is the hole of embracing the darkness and believing the lies of the Evil One. Lies he whispers in my ear telling me that because I am sick I am worthless, unlovable, a bother and a burden to others and not worthy of joy and happiness.
The Apostle Paul suffered a great deal in his life. I am confident that he witnessed as well as experienced darkness. That is why he so passionately tells us to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. … when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light (verses 11,13-14).”
Jesus is our light. When we find ourselves dangerously near one of the dark holes, we only need to call on Him. When we shine the light of Christ into the darkness, that darkness is exposed for what it really is - the sins of coveting and foolish talk. Thankfully He brings with Him forgiveness and redemption. Fear and lies are not able to stand in the light of Christ. They will scatter to the dark corners, away from the light and we will be free of them. Remember the words of Psalm 34:4-5, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
As we continue our journeys with Christ and with chronic illness, there will be more holes to come and more darkness. Keep your light close so that you can shine Christ into the darkness and expose it for what it really is. You may find it helpful to memorize a verse about the light of Christ so that you are prepared to shine that light into any darkness you come across on your journey. Below are a few of the many verses about light and darkness found in the Bible.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. –John 1:4-5
I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in Me may not remain in darkness. –John 12:46
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. – Romans 13:11-12
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. -2 Corinthians 4:6
Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. -Ephesians 5:14
© March 12, 2013