Written by Kacie Drake | ChattHOP Staff
Did you hear? Did you see? Did you know? Death. Murder. Suicide. Divorce. Things are just going to get worse. We’re in a downward spiral. How are our kids going to survive? There is so much darkness. Everything is corrupt. The end is near.
These are the slogans I hear all around me. Do they sound familiar to you?
They sound hauntingly familiar to me, because I have heard these words come out of my own mouth before.
So what does one do when the hottest topic of even the most well-meaning Christians is the doom and darkness closing in?
I have a dear friend who once addressed these topics by saying: “Each time I hear these comments, I cannot help but be surprised. Why you ask? Because we are inheriting a Kingdom that cannot be shaken! We live in such an hour in human history where we are seeing the Gospel going forward to all people and all nations with love and power. I John 2:8 tells us ‘the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.’”
The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
A wise professor once said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
Happiness can, of course, be found even in the darkest of times—so I love this quote. But I think it would be stronger to say hope can be found, even in the darkest of times. Happiness is so often fleeting, a spark in the darkness. But hope is not.
Hope is a slow burn.
Hope is audacious.
Hope is recklessly brave.
It is bold. Dauntless. Daring. It is not satisfied with silver linings. It will hammer and chisel away in the mines until pure gold flickers and shines like the sun.
But how does one “turn on the light?”
Do you remember the time during The Return of the King, where all hope seemed lost and darkness seemed like the only end? Do you remember the maddening existence of Denethor, Steward of Gondor? Do you remember how he stupidly foolishly frighteningly refused to light a beacon to call for aid because his despair had grown so strong? How he held on to despair desperately, ravenously, as if he could be comforted by repeating “all is lost?”
This is a time when you want to know how to turn on the light.
And it is in this time that Gandalf sends up a little hobbit, Pippin, to light a gargantuan fire. A fire that could be seen from mountain peak to peak, and a fire that would spread.
Clumsily and awkwardly, Pippin crawls up the cliff face to light the first fire. (Isn’t it true that choosing light in a dark world would look particularly clumsy and awkward?)
But he climbs. He spills the oil and drops the fire. And it catches. And in this cold, dark, gray time, as soon as the fire is seen, people from all over Gondor begin to proclaim, “The Beacon of Amon Din is lit!”
The city becomes a frenzy, and as Gondor becomes alive with movement and excitement, Gandalf whispers, with great joy,
hope is kindled.
And you know what happens when one beacon of hope is kindled?
It spread across the seven peaks in the White Mountains in Middle Earth, and it is spreading now. It spread to people sitting in darkness and cold, waiting for the light, and it is spreading now.
Hope is kindled. Gondor calls for aid.
Hope sounds a lot like calling for aid.
And at first, hope looks clumsy and awkward (because isn’t hope countercultural?)—but then it looks a lot like fire. Like big, bold, roaring beacons of fire that can be seen from mountain to mountain.
Hope looks a lot like prayer. A lot like choosing to ignore those who would say “don’t call for aid, no one will come,” and then scrambling up a cliff to light a fire. Hope looks a lot like believing that God will see, hear, and answer. A lot like believing we truly are in a kingdom that cannot be shaken.
Perhaps we “turn on the light” by remembering that the true light is already shining.
And somehow, clumsy and beautiful and brave, hope is kindled.