When Darkness is All You See
When Darkness is All You See – In Isaiah 9:1 we are offered right away something we all long for: hope. It says. “But there will be no gloom for her…” I looked up this word “gloom” and it is a Hebrew word that can also mean “darkness.” So Isaiah starts our passage out with “But there will be no darkness…”
Isaiah 9 (ESV) “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.”
Turn on the news, scroll through social media, or just take a look at the prayer sheet from your church. It seems everywhere we turn, people need hope. Isaiah’s listeners needed hope. They were scared of the enemies and were frightened. But Isaiah says in Isaiah 9:2: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” He goes on to say He will destroy their enemies and will break their chains. Finally, we see a description of this Child who is the Promised Hope for everyone. “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus is all of the things we need as we sit in darkness. I love the final phrase in Isaiah 9:7. It says: “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” God will do it. It is a promise!
I remember one morning this past spring. I was gentle rocking a newborn to sleep. My old coffee sat on the table in front of me and my prayer journal was empty. I was too tired to even write one word. The “to-do” list from yesterday remained all unchecked. A sigh escaped my mouth. Then God nudged my soul with this truth: God’s promises are not for when I am refreshed and renewed they are for when I am worn and weary. His truth is for this moment. And THIS our hope.
Off and on I’ve struggled with depression. Depression is not my choice. Depression is not something I can just “trust more” and it goes away. I can’t just believe God more and feel the cloud lift. It will lift eventually, but I’m not sure when. And the hope I find in the midst of it is always Jesus Christ. Not a magic formula. Isaiah’s promises to the children of Israel in Isaiah 9:1-7 are all concerning the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Don’t let the darkness win.
I love the description Betsy Cruz uses in the “more moments” from a First5 teaching: She said: “Wherever Jesus went, He demonstrated the power of light to overcome darkness. He called sinners to repent, healed the sick and opened the eyes of the blind. Jesus delivered those held captive by Satan’s power. He gave a promise to His followers: “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). That same promise holds true for us now.”
Jesus as our light isn’t about just reading His Word, but mediating on it too! One of the things I’ve learned over the years is there is value in repeating the same verse over and over in my mind throughout the day. I’ve also learned how work helps me not let the darkness win.
The best thing I can do for my depression is get to work. I like to fold laundry, maybe wash dishes, by hand. Often I will do simple things like sit outside for ten minutes, let my husband bring home dinner (and not feel guilty about it), play a board game or sit and watch a cartoon. But if I truly find myself in a deep pit, I go to scripture. One of my favorite passages to go to see the light is the Book of Psalms.
A light to shine into our dark world full of sin. And for so many years God was silent, but light suddenly burst forth! Jesus, who came to earth to show us the Father, is the Light of the World. Remember to look to God, cry to God, and rest.