The Light of Hope; January 1, 2022

Isaiah 60:2-3 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

I’m preaching on verse 1 tomorrow, so it’s logical to write on this right now! Actually, this verse reflects the situation we see all around us. God hasn’t abandoned physical Israel, but this applies most directly to those who have become His people through faith. The world is a dark place indeed, and people are hungry for true light. As Jesus said, some actively avoid it because their deeds are evil, (John 3:19-21) but there are those in every nation, and actually every religious background, who are honestly seeking God. Such people are drawn to the light of the Lord they see in those who are walking with Him. This is the same phenomenon Peter wrote about, saying, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15) We even have the expression, “hope shines brightly.” The world can seem pretty hopeless at times, and that is indeed dark. As is well known, the darker it is, the brighter even a small light seems. We may feel our light is totally insignificant, but for someone in total darkness it will seem almost blinding. I’m tempted to insert tomorrow’s sermon right here! The big point right now, however, is that we are never to despair at the darkness of the world, but rather rejoice at the light that we can see by faith, the light of the glory of God.

This certainly applies to me, because I minister in a nation with a tiny minority of Christians, and courtesy of the Internet, I am very aware of the darkness that is endemic all over the world. Just yester­day I posted a link to Facebook about human trafficking, which is as dark as it gets. That said, last night in our time of prayer to welcome the new year, the Lord gave my wife a vision of Nagasaki at night, and she saw lights appearing all over, one after another. The Lord told her that those were “hidden Christians,” coming out and declaring their faith. Nagasaki of course has the history of Hidden Christians from the time of persecution in the Edo Period, but this was those who, for various reasons, simply were not living out the faith that, deep down, they had. That is an exciting vision to me indeed! I know personally of numbers of people who have expressed a seemingly very genuine faith, and then have fallen away from participation in the Body of Christ. There are many reasons for that, but none are greater than the power of God! I am to look forward to God restoring to the Body many who have fallen away, so that together we may walk in His light and draw in many more, for the salvation of this nation and for His glory.

Father, thank You for this very encouraging Word to start the new year. Thank You for the genuinely blessed fellowship and prayer meeting we had last night. May every one of Your plans for 2022 be fulfilled indeed, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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