by Jennifer Slattery
You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 NIV
No matter how dark things appear, light is breaking through. The question is, will we see it? When difficulties come, it’s so easy to focus on the challenges and disappointments, and in that, to forget the heart, power, presence, and purposes of Christ.
I’ve noticed something lately, something that happens again and again. So often, my most challenging moments, in Christ’s hands, become so life-giving. When Covid-19 hit, my ministry lost an entire year of conferences, and therefore a year’s worth of funding. At the time, I felt confused and uncertain. But God used the pause and our renewed focus on Him to lead us into new, increasingly fruitful territory.
This pattern has also played out in my relationships. Years ago, my marriage was in a rough place and I felt the hours and stress of my husband’s job routinely stole him from me. Initially, the situation seemed to worsen. But God was working, revealing things both of us had too easily ignored. That dark period became a catalyst for change and growth.
Perhaps the most vivid light-piercing-darkness event occurred when I first became sick. Initially, fighting my illness alone, I tried various supplemental “cures.” The more out of control my body felt, the more I fought for control. By the time I sought a doctor and received a diagnosis, my latent, previously manageable and largely “ignored” OCD morphed into obvious germaphobia.
That period was so hard on all of us, but it also led to deep healing. We couldn’t justify or downplay my behavior anymore. I wasn’t simply focused or particular. When life became challenging and darkness pressed in, it squeezed out my inner gunk that we had learned to ignore.
We could’ve become suffocated by the darkness. Instead, by God’s grace, we linked arms, turned to Jesus, and steadily sought and followed His light. And His light indeed broke through in such a beautiful, life-giving way. While this didn’t eliminate our pain, that period changed us, for the better.
Speaking of Jesus, John 1:4-5 says, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV).
Jesus didn’t come during a rosy time in history. Lives were ravished by King Herod’s infanticide, Roman oppression, poverty, hunger, and leprosy with the lifelong isolation that accompanied it. But God was doing a mighty work not even the most powerful tyrannical ruler or most devastating disease could halt. He was bringing life to the dead and piercing the darkness with light (John 8:12).
The Pharisees couldn’t see this. They were blinded, distracted by the darkness; the darkness within themselves, yes, but also all the oppression and uncertainty in their world. All they could see was what they might lose, should this faith-movement continue: their prestigious roles as religious leaders, their already tenuous relationship with the Roman authorities, their way of life (John 11:47-48). They couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, see the light—the gift of life and freedom Christ offered.
No matter what 2021 brings, I refuse to be like them. I refuse to become so engulfed in today’s challenges that I fail to see God’s light breaking through. Because I know it’s there. It always is, a light that nothing, not the pain of today or the uncertainty of tomorrow, can extinguish.
How is God’s light breaking through your circumstances this month? And perhaps more importantly, how can you seek out and hold tight to that light when dark circumstances hit?
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a multi-published author, ministry, and the host of the Faith Over Fear Podcast. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, find her ministry at WhollyLoved.com, and find her podcast at LifeAudio.com and other popular podcasting sites.
Join Jennifer and her Wholly Loved Ministry team for an online mother-daughter conference for moms of teen through adult daughters. The mother-daughter relationship can be one of the most precious connections we experience, but they can also be a source of conflict and pain. Wholly Loved Ministries wants to help moms and daughters love one another well and experience the deep connections their hearts crave. Through personal anecdotes, biblical truths, and thought-provoking discussion questions, this event equips moms and daughters to cultivate the depth of relationship God Himself wants them to experience. In her new podcast, Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.
Join the conversation: Have you seen God’s light breaking through in this challenging season?