Lighting the Darkness

The clouds had been building for a couple of days waiting for the chance to break free from their restraints. You know what the Autumn rains are like – when it rains, it pours. The downpour, then, was no surprise. Nor when the power went out. Nor the flood that cut us off from the main road.

Who hasn’t had the power go out? Who hasn’t been left in the dark?

I remember it, that feeling of darkness. Not just sitting with the lights out but being utterly engulfed, surrounded, drowning in darkness. The darkness of the soul – depression.

I walk into a room and flick the light-switch. Nothing happens. I don’t know why I do it, just habit I guess. But we can get by without electricity. The torches and candles come out. We even use our phones till the battery dies.

But in my darkest moments there are no torches, no candles, no phones. And when I flip switches things actually happen. I punish my children – Bang! – bad father. Let someone down – disappointment. Try to find the right words to tell my wife what’s going on inside – failure, hopeless, worthless.

I know my house well enough to make my way around when it’s dark, but for those struggling with depression even the most familiar thing can become distorted and condemning. Life is like looking at things through a blanket of fog.

Floods and blackouts don’t last forever. The longest I’ve been through is 5 days. But sure enough, the water dried up and the power came back on. There was cleaning to be done, but life got back to normal.

Lighting the DarknessNo matter what the darkness is in your life (maybe it’s depression like me, but maybe it’s something else) the gospel is an assurance that it won’t last forever. I love what Ben Connelly wrote in the previous post:

‘Praise God, the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus IS a historic reality, and for those who God has redeemed, that we CAN look back on the day, or process through which he did. And praise God, the promise of an eternal, restored relationship with our God and Father in a new heavens and earth IS a guaranteed promise through the blood of Jesus.

‘But if that’s all the gospel is, then how does it impact our everyday lives? In other words, is the gospel truly “good news” in our present reality, between those past and future extremes?’

Most likely a tree fell in the storm, breaking the power-lines. There’ll be people from the electricity company out working. Nameless, faceless people scurrying about like ants to and from the nest, restoring power to countless people. I’m grateful.

I need people too, not nameless one’s, but people I know and trust. I need people who remind me hope in the gospel isn’t just in the distant future but also real today, and the Spirit is working in people’s life.

Matt, Sarah and their children were part of our church for 7 months. Even though they moved to be closer to work (10 mins instead of 90), I felt I had let them down. I could see their leadership potential and felt I failed to help them see it. On the day we farewelled them Sarah said to us all ‘We were fed up and burnt out by ministry when we came. You’ve helped us understand what it means to take our burdens to Jesus, and accept his rest. Instead of dreading church, Sunday is the day our family looks forward to because we all come together.’ Sarah spoke the gospel to my disappointment.

Keith asks me the tough questions. He asks about my walk with God, my marriage and relationships, and my struggle with depression. He sees me at my lowest, when I feel worthless. Instead of a pep talk, he reminds of who I am because of Jesus. He says, ‘Darryl, didn’t Jesus come and live, die and rise again for you? Hasn’t God adopted you into his family and made you his son? If he has done this, how can you be worthless?

I was wrong about there not being any light in my struggle with depression. I just needed people who would show me the light. Isn’t this what ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Eph. 4:15) is all about? Isn’t it about reminding each other of the truths of the gospel and who we are because of Jesus?

As followers of Jesus, we all need people to remind us of the gospel. We need others to lead us to Jesus because there are times when we all forget or simply don’t believe the truths of the gospel. And we need to learn how to build each other up in the gospel because, as Ben Connelly stated,

‘In a word, the gospel reminds us that God is God, that his promises are true, and that by his Spirit he is fulfilling those promises, in each person in all of life. If we’re honest, even the most committed Christian needs to be reminded of that, every single day.’

So, the question is, who are the people that speak the gospel into your life? And who do you bring gospel truth to?

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