You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness (I Thessalonians 5:5).
The Christian dwells in the sunlight of God’s grace—and sometimes in its shadows. But not in the night nor in the darkness. There is a difference between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. One is ruled by the holy God. The other is the abode of demons. That one gushes forth evil. There is nothing good in it.
Why should those who call the Holy One their Father have anything to do with that? Why should those who serve the Light of the World further the cause of darkness?
They should not.
But there are other questions: “Why can’t the Christian always walk in that sunshine? If he is the beloved of the Father, why do any dark days dawn in his life? Should he not be a child of privilege? If his Father is all-powerful, why is not every problem solved for him in advance with power from on high?
Why should he ever see failure? Why dangers? Why not only joy and peace?”
His Father tells him why. The child of God may not be of this world, but he certainly is in it. Since sin has infected his life, its malignancy shows itself. It appears as a shadow. We know how it works when doctors find the shadow of cancer. Machines may peer through our skin, and even into our bone, but never do we want their test to come back positive. We dread the news that there is something deadly within us. We are tempted to skip the test or ignore the result. We might decide, “Ignorance is bliss!” But of course, it isn’t. It’s dangerous. Denial does not remove the danger.
Detection is the first step toward a cure. It’s the same with sin. The Great Physician has examined us and detected, not just a speck, but a growing mass of evil inside of us. He tells us, “Unless removed, there is no hope.” We learn, only the Lord of life can do this. He smothers it with his blood. It dies. We live. We live in sunshine and shadows. Some days are bright with hope and joy. On other days, the shadows lengthen.
King David knew this. He wrote about walking through “the valley of the shadow of death.” We know what he meant. Death casts a big shadow. But for the child of God, it is only a shadow. We can walk right through it. Death cannot hold us. The shadows we see are blessings. They lead us to call out with David, “Our help is in the name of the Lord” (Psalm 124:8).
Scripture bids us to be, “Joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14). Let the shadows come! They will make us enjoy the sunshine even more.
We pray: Holy Spirit, Light divine, Shine upon this heart of mine; Chase the gloom of night away; Turn the darkness into day. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military