December 17, 2010

Darkness and Light

The other afternoon, it was partly cloudy. I came back to my bedroom on the south side of the house. The sun has begun creeping down for it's winter arc in the southern sky, and with the clouds, it seemed to be getting dark---and it was only 3:30. It just felt strange to me. About that time, my memory kicked in and I thought back to many years ago when I was on a mission trip in Poland at just this time of year.  It was pretty much dark by 4:00 because of the latitude of the city of Tarnow in Southern Poland where we were sharing gospel, not far from the infamous concentration camp known as Auschwitz.

Tarnow is far to the south of the city of Warsaw, the capital of Poland, that was pretty much destroyed during WWII when Hitler's armies rolled into the city and quarantined the Jews into what would become known as the Ghetto. Barricaded and guarded, the Jews of Warsaw began to live and die in a time in history that turns our stomachs and causes us to wonder how such Evil could kill so many in the horror that was the Holocaust. 




This is a picture of a manhole cover is not unlike the cover near the Warsaw Ghetto, the place of great misery where thousands and thousands of Jews lived after the invasion of the city by the Nazis. In the Ghetto, for a while, there was some hope of survival. Children, who were small enough to crawl through the tunnel system of the sewer, came through this very manhole to barter with non-Jewish Poles for arms and food. They did try to free themselves at one point but to no avail. Basically, the whole Jewish population of Poland, the largest in Europe at that time in history would die-----in the dark---- in the ghetto, on a train, or in a shower turned gas chamber.

.....and the light of a lamp
will shine in you no more,...  (the prophecy of the destruction of Babylon)
 (Revelation 18:23a ESV)

Can you imagine how dark it was inside that hole? It brings shivers to my soul. All throughout history there have been times of great darkness. Even in the present, we cannot know the power that darkness holds over the lives of peoples and nations. In Revelation 18 we see the great city go dark--it's lamps to shine no more. Darkness will come in the final days of judgment.

With the memory of that mission trip so many years ago, I am reminded of our responsibility---of my calling---to be a light in the world, to shine for the Light of the world. In some ways, as I have studied the Revelation, I have wanted to pray "bring it on, Lord!," but then I think of those who are living in darkness who do not have the mark of Christ upon their foreheads and I remember that God left me here upon the earth to share the hope of the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

I am praying this week for the great revival that is predicted to come before the end of days. It may be happening in other places in the world and we aren't aware. I pray it is but I want it to happen here where we live and I want to be a light for Jesus when it seems the sun is going down in the middle of the afternoon. We have nothing to fear but everything to gain in sharing our TESTIMONY of the goodness of God in our lives. Lord, help me be brave---courageous to do your will. I pray this for my fellow classmates in Bible Study that in their places of influence God will use them as lights in the darkness. We are a few small flames but together we are a blazing fire. This was how the Apostle Paul described his calling as he recounted his experience on the road to Damascus when Christ rocked his world.

The Lord to Paul:  But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ 
(Acts 26:16-18; ESV)

Into the darkness, I go---- a witness to the Light.

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