Lost in the Dark?

man with dog on dark path
Have you ever eagerly wandered off into a deep, dark forest, only to find yourself lost? Or taken a walk down a path and had the sun go down earlier than you had anticipated, leaving you to find your way in the dark? Maybe you have driven down a road and had dense fog suddenly move in, or had snow begin to fall heavier than you expected. Have you traveled where the way was so dark you could see only a short distance ahead, only to have your source of illumination quit working?

We all have to face situations like these at some point in our lives. I once read about a man who traveled a considerable distance in the midst of a Saudi Arabian desert to view a rare cluster of “desert roses” (a flowerlike collection of mineral crystals found in very arid areas of the world). While his effort to find them in the daylight was not much trouble, his return at sunset proved to be of significant concern, since his car would not start! Being lost in a Middle Eastern desert at twilight is challenging enough, but to try and find your way overnight with no light is even worse. In the end, this man had to sleep in his car. He barely managed to get a ride back to civilization the next day with a man hauling goats! But not everyone has that option.

There are times when we can’t stay where we are until the light returns. There are even times when the light does not return.

Most try to press forward, groping in the darkness, proceeding slowly step-by-step, not really knowing exactly what lies ahead. Is there a tree, a large rock, a steep ravine, a poisonous snake, a hole, or a parked vehicle ahead?

Does the road continue to go straight or does it turn sharply? Is there a precipice ahead? How much farther do we have to travel to reach something recognizable? But the nagging question always looming in the back of our minds is, are we going in the correct direction?

Some have never experienced situations like these, since they have always lived in well-lit urban or suburban areas and were safely inside whenever power outages occurred. Others have never had a malfunctioning light source. Yet they continue to live a life regularly filled with darkness. Even as you read this, you may be experiencing darkness in your heart and life that you can’t seem to eliminate or even control. So you go along, groping in this darkness, grabbing at this solution or that. But each seems to brighten your path or dispel the darkness no more than a flashlight with weak batteries could do. You may try some religion, or you may have dropped all religion. You may try praying more, or you may stop praying altogether. And still the darkness refuses to dissipate. Have you done something good for others, or maybe traveled to a distant land on a pilgrimage, and found that the darkness lifts—but only for a season? Then it returns to haunt you even more than before.

I have been there too. In fact, all who have overcome being lost in the darkness have been there. Those who have overcome still have darkness all around them. While the particular darkness we have been through may not be identical to what you are going through now, it is still darkness and no light can be seen. But the difference is, that we have found a source of light that is always with us which will never dim, flicker, or burn out. That light is Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Have you ever been led somewhere by someone holding a light? You followed him because he could see the way, since his light illuminated the pathway. But you had to follow closely behind because the light only covered a short distance. If you hesitated or lagged behind, it would get farther and farther away, and you would find yourself in the dark again. We must draw near to Jesus when we follow Him, and let Him be the light that lights our way. When cares or pleasures of this life distract us, when we start looking around or behind us, the path becomes darker and harder to see, since the Light gets farther and farther away. Just as the moon only reflects the light of the sun, having no light of its own, we also have no light of our own to light our way. We must let Him be our light and guide us.

“In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death” (Proverbs 12:28).

How did Jesus become the light of the world? through His victory over sin and death, which came through His death on the cross. Throughout the period of the Old Testament in the Bible, thousands and thousands of sacrifices were made by the Jews to cover their sins. But they only covered them for a time. When Jesus died on the cross, He became the ultimate and final sacrifice. Then there was absolutely no need for another sacrifice for sin, since He paid it all. This was further cemented when He arose from the grave and returned to His Father in heaven. By accepting His sacrifice for us and turning completely from our sins in faith, allowing Him be our only light source, we can have the Light to see through the darkness continually! But if we reject Jesus as our light, we will only continue to grope and stumble in darkness, never having everlasting light.

“O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles [dwelling places]” (Psalm 43:3).

For more information about the path or way to everlasting life, click here.


The Dark Manger

dark manger

I walked down a street one evening recently where many homes were decorated for Christmas. Some had elaborate displays with a lot of lights; others displayed a simple arrangement and very few lights, or anything else that would really grab your attention. What caught my eye among all of these displays was a simple little manger scene with just the basics: Mary, Joseph, an animal and a shepherd. It was more meaningful than all of the others, because no light was shining on the manger scene, and baby Jesus was not present.* Only a distant streetlight made the display visible in the darkness, since it had no light of its own to illuminate it. Whether the darkened scene was intentional or just an oversight remains a mystery, but its current state of darkness gives it much more prominence than all of the brightest and most elaborate displays on the street combined.

Over two thousand years ago, the real manger scene in Bethlehem was in just as much darkness as this little representation is now. There was some type of light there, naturally, maybe a torch or small fire, but the type of darkness I’m talking about goes far beyond physical light. It is known as spiritual darkness, the absence of God in the heart. True joy and happiness only come when Jesus reigns in our hearts and lives. Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When Jesus was born, then the true light from heaven shone upon the world. He was God in human flesh, or Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

God the Father loves us more than we could ever comprehend, even to the point that He would send His innocent, sinless Son to this earth to pay the ultimate penalty for the sins of every person on this earth—eternal death. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The more sin there is in this world, the more spiritual darkness is present as well. Evil loves darkness, and when the world is full of darkness, evil freely abounds. If the world had no real means of redemption (being free from the consequences of sin), it would be hopelessly lost to evil and sin.

When Jesus came to live in this world, He broke the stronghold of darkness. He fulfilled all the requirements of the laws God set out in the Old Testament of the Bible. He never sinned Himself, but He took upon Himself all of the sins of every person in the world (those who had previously died, those currently alive, and all yet to be born) when He died on the cross. Then, when He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30), sin and darkness no longer reigned—they were forever defeated! But this victory is not automatic for us. We have to accept by faith that He died for us, and believe that His victory over sin is our victory over sin. We must, as well, make Him the lord or ruler over our life, and no longer let our own self remain in command. We must admit to God and ourselves that we are sinners (wrong-doers) and repent (turn completely) from our sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to Him, we become the light of the world as well as His Spirit enters into us.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

This Christmas season, are you going to continue to remain in the darkness, or are you going to let the Light of the World (Jesus) be the light of your life? Will you be ashamed to have His light shine on you because of the sins you cling onto in your life? He came to this earth and overcame the darkness forever. Now is the time to let Him overcome the darkness in your life too. For more information about the way to God, click here.

*(Ed. note: Baby Jesus was not stolen from this display, nor was His absence an oversight. Many feel that the manger display is more accurate if baby Jesus is placed in the manger on Christmas Eve, since He had not been born until then.)

Talking Lamps (well… not exactly)


“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

When you get a moment, go find a light and turn it on. It doesn’t matter what kind of light: a desk lamp, a night-light, the lights inside your car, or a flashlight (as long as the area around it is dark enough to see the difference). Now while it is on, take a look at it (don’t stare at the bulb itself!) and notice how much light it produces. Next, put your ear as close as you can to the light and listen. Do you hear it talking to you? Does it say something to the effect of: “I am a light bulb. Look at me shine”?

Does it describe what kind of light it produces, or how you look under its glow? No. It never will. A lamp, or the light source itself, does not talk. Lamps shine their light into the darkness without a word.

No matter what the circumstances or situation, no matter what time of day or night, they dutifully let their light shine. When they are shining, there is no question as to what they are.

As believers in Christ we need to let our light shine in full brilliance. Our lamps should show forth His light without a word being spoken. So often we go out into this world with His light only partially shining, much like a flashlight or a low-wattage bulb. Other times we hide or disguise His light so that we can be with unbelievers unnoticed. Most of the time, we hide His light because we are embarrassed or ashamed of Him. The Bible warns us about such actions. When we are not full of Christ, then our light is less and less, or we don’t even see the need to let it shine.


When we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as Lord and Savior, we have to let Him in for His light to shine out through us. It is like asking some friends to ignite your charcoal grill with one of their matches. When they strike the match and attempt to drop it into the grill, you suddenly close the lid and refuse to let the match in. You wonder why the grill doesn’t work, and then plead with them again and again to drop the match inside. Every time thereafter, you close the lid before the match reaches the grill. After much agonizing, you feel down and discouraged because there is nothing happening inside the grill, when actually, you are the problem! When you yield to Christ and let Him work inside of you though His Spirit, you will openly allow the Light to shine out.

When we don’t let Him fully work in our lives, our flesh, our natural ‘self’ that is resistant to God, rises up and blocks or restricts His light from shining out of us. If we are afraid to let His light shine, then we don’t have enough of Him in our lives.

If we don’t want His light shining at all, then obviously we don’t have Him at all in our lives. His Spirit is not going to stay if we don’t want Him in us!

God wants the light to shine, not talk or speak. Lamps don’t talk—they shine. They illuminate the darkness. Darkness needs light for one to see. When you talk in the dark, your voice illuminates nothing. Even if I talk in the dark until I’m hoarse, somebody will still stumble and fall, since there is no light to see by. When you have to tell someone that you are a Christian, the lamp is talking and the light is not really shining. When you eagerly watch a crude DVD or movie with your old, non-Christian friends, your lamp is talking and the light is not shining. When you listen to your old worldly music, or go to a rock concert, or watch a vulgar comedian with your old ‘friends’, your lamp is talking and not shining. If Christ and His work on the Cross is not the target of your faith (we all have faith; we need a target or object for that faith), and you are trying to be right before God on your own, then your lamp is talking and the light is hardly shining. Don’t let your light or lamp talk, let go and let Christ work in you so that you will shine in this dark world!

–James Pangburn