Saturday, January 29, 2011

Light Up Ahead

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness. Psalm 112:4

Because he was a Jew, Victor Frankl spent many months as slave-labor in a Nazi concentration camp. After his release, he wrote books about this experience and toured the world giving lectures on how he survived those dark times. But as the years passed, he noticed something strange. In a post-war world that was becoming increasingly prosperous and free, people still drifted without purpose as though groping in the dark. He remarked with amazement “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

As I look around, I see a lot of happiness. Kids build snowmen in the winter and ride bikes in the summer. Families laugh. Church bells ring. Neighbors support each other in times of grief or celebration. In many ways, life is good.

But, I see a lot of darkness, too, and sometimes it is hard to know which is getting the upper hand. Every day the news brings a fresh batch of broken dreams and tragedies from around the world. Anger, corruption, drugs, rape, poverty, violence, greed, it’s all dished up in color and real time. Add to this, the personal darkness. Divorce, money trouble, emptiness, illness, loneliness, death, and the total load could be overwhelming.

I guess that is why I love verses like Psalm 112:4. This scripture is not about full-blown sunlight or having all the questions answered. Instead, it’s more like seeing light at the end of a tunnel or the first streaks of dawn piercing a long night. It’s a glimmer breaking solid and sure even though it is still in the distance. It’s about hope.

This special kind of hope is not for everyone, but is promised to a particular kind of people: the “upright.” Or, one might say those who are “pointed in the right direction.” They don’t weaver to and fro or change with every wind but remain steady and “upright” as they seek something beyond themselves. That something is a Someone. Seeking Him kept them upright and watching for the distant light.

Jeremiah 29:13 was written to a defeated, homeless, hopeless people who had gone through a time that rivaled the darkness of Auschwitz. To them God said, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” It was that seeking which pulled them upright and pointed them in the right direction.

Times of darkness can threaten even the strongest Christian. We let our focus drift, loose our compass and the next thing we know we doubt the meaning of life as hope slips from our grasp. But it need not stay that way. If you feel the darkness creep closer, don’t wait. Pull yourself upright by remembering the Lord. For it’s when you’re upright and pointed in the right direction that light will begin to glimmer on the horizon.

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