If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:10-11
I have been thinking a lot about persecution (of course) and wondering what it must be like to walk in the shoes of our brothers and sisters who suffer so much. In spite of their pain, sorrow and moments of feeling hopeless, they are encouraged by our response to their suffering and the knowledge that the Lord is close.
As I ponder these thoughts, I am reminded of this past Fourth of July. It was a dark night free of any shining stars, and I sat on the dock watching the fireworks reflect over the lake. These were not puny little fireworks. These were the massive, ballpark kind (that I’m pretty sure were illegal), but they were beautiful. The sky was dark; the water was dull and then out of nowhere the sky lit up with every color and shape imaginable. The light reflected off the lake causing it to capture colors unnatural to water.
It was truly stunning, and reminded me of hope. Our situation can be dark and it looks like there is no end, no way out, no light; and then…hope. Hope lights up the darkness, brings a smile to our face and allows us to see things that we would never have noticed before. It’s amazing.
It reminded me that it is never dark forever.
When there seems to be no hope, God sends up a firework to encourage us, light up a moment and let us know He’s there. Even though most of the sky and lake remains dark, our attention is focused not on the darkness, but instead, our attention is directed at the huge explosions and beauty shooting through the sky. That’s how it must be for hope to work. We must focus on the glimmers of hope, on the trustworthiness of Jesus; not on looming darkness. If we focus on the looming darkness we miss the beautiful fireworks. We miss the hope.
I think this is the “secret” that our persecuted brothers and sister know. They are not saints. They are humans like you and I. They do their best not to worry about tomorrow. They focus on Jesus; on His goodness and truth. It’s a lesson we can all incorporate into our own struggles. Focus on Jesus, not the darkness. Remember that there is always hope in Him. He never leaves us alone.