The central theme of Overcoming The Darkness is that God’s light shines in the darkness. And in a world filled with darkness it is certainly good to know that not only is God with us, but that his light shines brightly.
Darkness and sin are often associated with one another. And sin hides in the darkness. Yes, sin hides in the secrecy of our home, our devices, our books, and especially our thoughts. This is what sin does. It snuffs out the faith and life of the Christian. We try to stop, try to turn, try to dispel the darkness in our lives, but we just cannot become bright enough to get out of it. But the good news is that the love of God in Christ Jesus shines through darkness.
Is there really darkness in the world? Why all this paranoia with the dark anyway? Don’t we tell our children that there is no such thing as the boogeyman? Don’t you show them that when you turn on the light that nothing is hiding under the bed? What do you think?
I think we all know that the physical evil or darkness which is bred and nourished by sin is real in this world. We see it all the time. And I want you to know that the spiritual evil or darkness which is bred and nourished by sin is even more real. In fact it is more frightening than its physical companion. Evil is real.
Earlier today I was talking with the district president of my church body. We are on home confinement because of a pandemic, except for what is considered to be essential workers, and he called simply to see how I was doing. Our conversation certainly dealt primarily with the fears, anxieties, and sense of helplessness which many are experiencing. I told him that feeling helpless can be, in fact is essential, in pointing us to God. Unfortunately, that is not the response of the masses. Unfortunately, in times of extreme crisis people have a tendency to turn for help to any and everything except God.
Sometimes the darkness of this world just leads you to wonder whether anyone really is concerned about you or not. Sometimes we can wonder if we mean anything to anyone, or are we just numbers on a sheet of paper? And at times like those, it is not unusual to discover that there are more people who have a real concern for you than you had ever imagined. But it is also true that there is no one who has a greater interest in you, and a greater concern for you than God does.
Think about it. Day after day God supplies, not only what you need, but far more. When we look back over our past and see how God has watched over us, and led us to this very hour, doesn’t this simply say that he cares for you?
Some of the most beautiful and precious truths of our Christian faith are expressed in language so simple that even a child can understand them. The best example is the beauty and the simplicity of the words from John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You are told that God, the holy and righteous Lord of all, loved the world. Notice loved, not liked. And let me ask you, how could God like a sinful world? But he could and did love it, and all the miserable helpless sinners in it. Sinners like you and me. A love so great that he gave his one and only Son. He gave him to pay in full for all the sins of all the sinners, so that whoever believes in him, shall not perish but have eternal life.
This good news of the Gospel is foreign and foolishness to our natural way of thinking. To human reason it seems all wrong that God would sacrifice his Son to save sinners. That is the reason that you must not only recognize God’s ability to do this thing, but also his great love which compelled him to do so.
God’s love is unconditional and it is everlasting. It depends on him and his faithfulness, not on whether we deserve it or respond in kind. If that were the case, if those were the conditions, we would have no comfort and no hope.
God’s loving kindness is gentle and pure, yet it also has great power. It has power to draw us to him. It has power to keep us in his grace, and to overcome the evil the world would have us follow.
The love of God is more than a kindly gesture, it is the hug of God. It is his reassuring arms around you. In days of darkness or distress, in nights of pain and sorrow, hear him as he tells you to fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name. You are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
Overcoming The Darkness explains in Biblical detail how God’s Light shines in the midst of any and all darkness which enters into our collective and individual lives. This is an evil world in which we live and darkness abounds. The realm of darkness can be devastating, but the darkness need not win out. Evil hurts but will not prevail. God has a way of changing things. That is who he is, and that is what he does.
Overcoming The Darkness shows you the victory which is yours to have; the victory over all those fears associated with the dark. God’s Light does indeed shine in the darkness. Yes, in the midst of the darkness the light of Jesus Christ shines brightly. The victory has been won!
About the Author
Rev. Charles Ridulph is a native of Sycamore, IL. He and his wife Diane have a son and two daughters who along with their spouses and three children who also live in Sycamore, and a daughter and son-in-law along with four children who live near Austin, TX. He received his theological education from Concordia University of Wisconsin, and Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He also is certified for prison ministry through Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in association with Prison Fellowship. He retired as the director of Christian Senior Ministries in 2013, a ministry which he founded. He has served as police chaplain with the Sycamore Police Department, and chaplain with the Illinois Department of Corrections. He presently serves as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Hampshire, IL.