Light in the Darkness
by Liz Griffin
5 January 2023« Previous Day | Next Day »
Part of the suffering that many people are having to undergo at the moment is living in total blackouts as their source of electricity is cut off by their enemies. There is a product which can make life in such conditions more bearable. It is an LED torch with a rechargeable battery. I was so thrilled to be given one of these new torches recently and to discover just how amazing and powerful they are.
But when Jesus walked on the face of the earth, people had simple clay containers filled with oil and a burning wick which they could use to see their way in the dark. Jesus often spoke about oil lamps in His teaching. In those days, I imagine, it would be difficult if the light went out for any reason, or if the clay container got broken.
The apostle Paul wrote about Christians being like those fragile clay lamps. His letter to the Corinthian Church is all about enduring in times of great suffering, but being able to find peace and even to give thanks to Father God (2 Corinthians 4). He was sure of his calling as an evangelist and said, ‘You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake’ (2 Corinthians 4:5, NLT). In the first verse of 2 Corinthians 4 (ESV), he wrote, ‘Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart’.
The reason he could say, ‘we do not lose heart’, was because of his glorious proclamation of his faith in the previous chapter, ‘Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit’ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18, ESV).
So, even though Paul went through such intense times of suffering, he was able to say, ‘But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;’ (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, ESV).
How encouraging his words to us are today, ‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day’ (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV). He intentionally focussed on seeing his life from God’s eternal perspective. The trials and hardships would not last for ever. They could not compare to the glory that was to come. ‘So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever’ (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT).
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