My maternal grandmother lived almost 1,300 miles from my childhood home. Every year she would come and stay with us, usually during part of the summertime and she would stay for months. She established a daily routine around our home, and it involved getting whatever things she wanted to get accomplished early in the day so that she could watch her favorite television shows. She spent a lot of time watching game shows such as The Match Game, Let’s Make a Deal, and her ever favorite soap opera, The Guiding Light. While I never watched this epic soap opera with her, I can still see the image of the opening credits on the television screen – a rotating light from the top of a lighthouse dispelling the darkness, as if guiding an unseen ship safely through potentially threatening waters and away from crushing reefs.
No doubt you’ve heard the saying that darkness is the absence of light, and is also thought of as an indication of evil. For it seems to me that evil delights in lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike when we cannot see it coming. We cannot see in the dark, it makes us feel vulnerable, and even though my parents didn’t teach me to fear the dark, I seemed to think that monsters lurked in my childhood bedroom at nighttime waiting to gobble me up. Jesus himself seems to equate evil with darkness when he said: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21, ESV)
Just like when I was a child who somewhat feared the dark, this phenomenon of not knowing what will happen to us can cause us to build up immense fear. To some it could be the fear of the future, to some it could be the fear of a loved one dying, to some it could be the fear of a medical emergency or illness, etc. No doubt, each of us have feared something or another at least once in our lives. Fear seems to be a common theme or experience in each of our lives.
And, if you are like me, you don’t like fear.
I don’t like the sinking feeling in my stomach, I don’t like the overwhelming feeling of dread, I don’t like when fear of something causes me to tremble, I don’t like the loss of sleep when I’m in the throngs of fear.
God recognizes our human weaknesses, He knows that fear is a real enemy to us. So much so, that some variation of the phrase “do not fear” appears in our Bible 365 times. Yet however much God relays this message to us, we fear. Perhaps one of the most famous kings of all was the Old Testament King David. If anyone ever had a reason to have fear it would be him. He faced perilous situations time after time in his life – much more than I ever will. Yet, David writes:
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27:1, NLT)
Why was David so secure? Perhaps it was his faith, his overall drive to be in lock-step with God each and every moment in his life. David adored God and spent his life in communion with God. He spent much time reflecting on God, pouring his heart out to God, praising God, and trusting God – no matter the circumstances. Unlike so many others, he didn’t turn to God when times were hard or his life was in peril. David was in God’s presence every day. He was secure in his relationship with God, he knew from personal experience that he could trust God. And, as he said in the verse above, God was his light – his guiding light – steering him away from, or navigating him through, tumultuous waters and crushing reefs. When troubles came, David had the confidence that with God by his side, he could face any situation that the enemy threw at him.
We have more than King David. We have Jesus by our side, and the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus’ life overcame evil once and for all. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, ESV)
So, fear take a hike, you have no place in my life! I pray that my walk with God be so close that I know beyond all else that I am already in God’s presence, and may that knowledge make me feel secure throughout, and prepared for, any test and trial that I face. I have Jesus as my guiding light.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV)