I have two young sons who still don’t like to have their bedroom completely dark at night. We leave the shades partially open so that the street lights allow them to see around their room. If they express any fear I just remind them that I am only a few feet away in the next room. Most of us can remember feeling the same way about darkness as children: I used to have a good look under the bed and inside my closet before I went to bed, to make sure nobody was hiding in there, ready to crawl out as soon as the lights were switched off. I’ve spoken to many people who did the same thing.

On July 4th I took my family to see the fireworks at the local park. Until the fireworks began, a band played cover versions of popular songs from the sixties up to the nineties in the park’s amphitheatre, and did a great job of entertaining everyone. Between two of the songs, the vocalist made a little speech that really touched me. He noted the fact that lots of people these days are fearful about the economy here and in Europe, and people are fearful of terrorists or what might happen in the Middle East.

“Things may look dark” he said, “but it’s okay, because our Father, the Lord Almighty, is just a few feet away-in fact, not even that far…”

To my mind it takes a real man to not only think something like that, but to say it in front of a crowd of people.

And he’s right: God is with us and He’s in control. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, when we see what goes on in the world around us and sometimes in our own lives. The world can appear to be a very dark place depending on our circumstances and outlook.

It’s a huge mistake to think, as many people do, that God should be there to wait on us and fix all our problems while we go on in our own way, unhindered. That’s just not the way it is. Jesus said “In this world you will have trouble.” Then he said “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). God has clearly declared that He has a master plan to put things right. He has a day and a time in store for the restoration of his “very good” creation. All we have to do is to accept his son, to turn from our own ways and embrace his instead. Jesus said:

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When we have our eyes fixed on our God instead of the economy and what our enemies are saying, we can have confidence.  Again, Jesus said:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25).

We are told in scripture that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is not blind hope, it’s an understanding and acceptance that God is good, and that we can therefore entrust ourselves to His care. Things don’t always go how we want them to go. Sometimes circumstances in our lives are miserable. However, in our “journey” of faith, if we know the character of God, we understand that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Our spiritual “street light” is God himself, because “God is light; in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).

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