To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. – Luke 1:79
In this verse, Zechariah has just received his ability to talk again. He is singing praises to God. The angel of the Lord had made him mute for months because he refused to believe what was being told to him. The day his son John the Baptist was born, he was able to speak again. He is excited about what God is going to do through his son. I love this verse as I read it today. I just read it over and over and marvel.
I have sat under four different pastors for the last couple of months. I’ve needed counseling. I’ve needed to spew out in anger and say exactly what is in my heart and mind. There was just no way that I could keep all that hurt inside. In response, I’ve heard them all return stories of great hurt. I found out quickly that I’m not even close to alone. I even found out that my story really pales in comparison to others. Today, I want to allow John the Baptist to do what he was born to do. If you are in a dark place, the words contained in this one verse can lead you out. It led me out. This past Sunday, I believe my wounds completely healed. I didn’t know that I went through this process, but now that I know, I believe I’m supposed to write about it this morning so someone here can walk through it intentionally.
To give light to those who sit in darkness
First and foremost, it is very important that you do not sit in darkness. If you are sitting, you aren’t moving. It is absolutely crazy how if you get hurt, especially by people within the church walls, it paralyzes you. You can’t move forwards, backwards, or sideways. The worst part of it all is that you just sit and stew in darkness. Darkness constantly whispers in your ear reminding you of all your failures, telling you that you just need to quit, and making sure that you pour out only anger and hatred towards those who you perceive did you wrong. This is the worst place possible to be sitting.
and in the shadow of death
As soon as I see the words “the shadow of death”, I think about Psalm 23. It says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” You have to go from sitting to walking. You’ve got to get up and move. I remember a specific time about a month ago that I wanted to quit. In my mind I had been walking through of the shadow of death. I thought of turning back. Immediately this thought popped in my head, “What if the distance forward is less than the distance backward?” I understood that I would be walking either way. I could not bear the thought of going backwards and that distance being longer than the distance if I had just kept moving forward. Know this: When surrounded by darkness, you have got to walk and walk until you get past the shadow of death. You cannot stop moving. It is so easy to stop, sit, and sulk. You also need to keep your mouth shut. While you are here, you can say things you are almost certainly going to regret and have to apologize for later. Only talk to people you can absolutely trust and you know will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.
and to guide us to the path of peace.
So this past Sunday I sat through a sermon called “Peace on Earth.” Absolutely everything felt tailor made to me. I just marveled as the Holy Spirit of God just flowed right through me as if I were brand new in the Lord. Peace rested on me once again. It was so simple. I realized that it had been right there in my reach all along. My circumstances didn’t change a bit, but man did they ever shrink into nothing. When His peace comes upon you, you just know that nothing else on this planet matters. You just know that peace is not found in anything this world offers.
Peace is found in Him.