Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, but behold, darkness, for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
As a college student, I was no stranger to the famed “All-nighter.” Involved in many different activities, I often found myself with only the night before to study for an exam or write a paper. The first all-nighter I ever pulled was just a couple of weeks into my freshman year. I was writing my first college paper and the pressure of what to write it on and how to write it kept me from getting very far before all of my hall-mates tucked themselves snugly into their beds.
At around 2am, I started to panic. I had no idea what to write it on and no one to ask for advice. I was all alone with a big, blank Word document staring back at me. I decided just to begin randomly writing and, torturously, the paper came out. I might as well have been playing tug-of-war with the creative side of my brain but, luckily, a couple of hours later, I was able to scrape out two pages of gibberish; enough to turn-in to make it look like I knew what I was doing.
It was a miserable night and a pretty pathetic piece of writing, but the part I hated the most was the loneliness. The hollow blow of the air conditioning kicking on, the banging of the garbage truck dropping the big metal dumpster, the sprinklers turning on and then ending their cycle; these were my only company, my only distraction/interaction, the sounds of the city that reminded me that no one else heard them but me.
Fast-forward four years and, somehow I still had to pull all-nighters to get the work done. During my senior year I didn’t sleep a single night before an exam and gave up multiple nights of rest working on my thesis. Perhaps I was too driven, but I must say that I learned something; I hate darkness.
I hated knowing that the garbage truck came at 4am. I hated knowing that the first train came in at 5am. And, most of all, I hated knowing that I was suffering through the hollow, desolate night while everyone else remained cozily in dreamland.
As a result of this, I grew to love the sunrise. This was when my hope would return. This was when everyone would start to stir and wake-up to join my world again. I was no longer alone; I had the bustle of the early commuter train humming through my window, I heard the street sweeper steam down the block, I began to hear the hum of voices again, and I was content.
The verse quoted above is a confession of wickedness. It refers to hoping for light, but only receiving darkness and looking for brightness, but only finding gloom. As I read this verse, I was reminded of my experience with darkness; it is hollow and lonely. It offers no escape except to wait for the sun’s redeeming power. This is the picture of our sin. We wander and wait through the lonely night of sin and, at the dawn of our salvation, we are redeemed and we find hope. We are welcomed back into the fold of our Shepherd’s flock and we no longer have to suffer through life alone. We are redeemed!
My challenged to you today is to abandon the darkness. If you are not saved, stop clinging to the empty loneliness of self-reliance and join the rest of creation in the Light of our Lord. If you are saved and have wandered back into the darkness, I challenge you to flee. You don’t have to live in the darkness any longer! You have been redeemed to live fully in the Light of the God of the universe.