Have you ever been afraid of the dark? When my three children were younger, we had to keep their doors open at night, while also maintaining small night-lights in the corners of their rooms. This fear or natural distrust of darkness starts early and continues all of our lives, for a good reason – Light helps us understand who we are, where we are, and when we are.
People are driven mad by the lack of light. Shackleton, the British explorer stranded in Polar Ice in the 1914s, mentioned that he and his crew, who were able to endure almost anything, including starvation and frigid temperatures, found the constant polar darkness unbearable. The pastor, Timothy Keller describes it as, “In such deep darkness you can’t see forward, so you don’t know where you’re going. You have no direction. You can’t even see yourself; you don’t know what you look like. You may as well have no identity. And you can’t tell whether there is anyone around you, friend or foe. You are isolated.”
The same thing happens in spiritual darkness. When you turn away from God’s truth and life-giving light, you thrust yourself into spiritual darkness and end up seeking other forms of ‘artificial’ light instead. You bask in the glow of a career, a relationship, or praise from others. However, these “light sources” are fickle, flickering candles compared to God’s sun-like warmth. You end up stumbling from one light source to the next because your worth is based on these small insignificant lights even while your soul desperately wants and needs something more significant and brighter.
When Christ was on the cross, he experienced both physical, “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour” and spiritual, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He experienced isolation from God and, in doing so, walked in every single one of our shoes. He suffered for us, so we would never have to be isolated or abandoned again. He was momentarily blocked from God’s light, so you never have to be left stumbling in the dark.
The cross proves that He loves you and understands what it means to suffer, and is now and will always be there to light your way in this often dark world.