The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
Few of us, particularly city dwellers, have experienced complete darkness. Streetlights constantly light our home at night, and the iridescent light reflecting off fresh snow gives the darkness a warm glow. In younger years, I dabbled in photography and needed a dark room—completely dark—for some procedures. But to be in complete darkness not of our own making can be frightening.
However, the lack of sight, from darkness or blindness, is less frightening than the spiritual darkness of guilt, and the closer we approach God, the more His penetrating light reveals our sinfulness. Martin Luther lived much of his life aware of his sin and in terror of God. He knew what it meant to live in the land of the shadow of death.
That same terror binds people in religions or beliefs that seek to balance or erase guilt by appeasing an angry God. They live in the perpetual darkness of fear of death because they have no assurance that God will accept them. Age has the effect of increasing fear of death, as sins of the past gain notoriety and haunt us.
That great light has dawned on all who fear God’s wrath. Instead of a dark, fearful existence, I can live daily in the light of God’s grace. It is the assurance of God’s forgiveness, guaranteed by Christ’s sacrifice for my sin that gives life hope and meaning. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4.
Why would anyone want to live without that light?