In January or February, I looked up a word (or more) in the Hebrew and Greek Bible concordance we have (Strong’s Concordance). I don’t remember what it was or what it was for–maybe Sunday school, maybe small group Bible study, maybe personal devotions, maybe a blog post. . . I don’t know.
But I know another number and definition caught my eye and heart.
It was the number 2020 in the Greek section.
The definition was “to begin to grow light” (as in the sunrise/dawn).
2020. To begin to grow light.
But 2020 was a dark year, my head–heart?–protests. And it hasn’t gotten any better. It’s not beginning to grow light. That number and definition don’t mean anything.
2020 wasn’t really a bad year for me. Yes, there were struggles, I was bummed about not going to church for a while and not joining the youth group right away, it was kinda annoying wearing a mask, etc. But it was a fairly good/normal year for me personally.
Now 2021–that was harder, as you’ve probably read about here. And there’s been–still are–rough patches in 2022.
It’s getting darker, a voice screams as my eyes fill with tears. Forget about this dumb idea, this false hope that maybe God is giving you a message through this book published before 2020 ever happened!
But hope, like a sewer-rat, refuses to die.
So here I am, wondering how it began to grow light in 2020.
The first thing that came to mind was from the latest Priceless magazine issue. The theme was “shine”–how we Christians are to be lights.
… Most everyone will agree that the world is continuing to grow darker, but I would like to remind you that when it’s darkest is when the light can best be seen!Janessa, “Letter from the Editor,” Priceless: Issue 27 (underlining added)
As the world gets darker we should be growing brighter, not allowing it to snuff out our light! …
The other evening, our power went out for a couple of hours. I turned on my flashlight, and it lit up my bedroom fairly well. I walked down the stairs with it, and my family joked that the power had come back on (because it was so bright).
But it wouldn’t have been like that if we had other lights, if our power was still on, if it wasn’t dark. Because it was dark, the light could better be seen.
Maybe the darkness of 2020-now is giving opportunity for the light of the Christians–for my own light–to grow, to be seen better.
And maybe it’s so God’s light will be seen.
Maybe 2020-now is to interrupt our rhythm, so that we may see our need for Him.
Maybe the storm is to show us the Stone, to keep us from a life apart from God.
Maybe 2020-now was to get our attention so we could hear God’s still, small voice.
Maybe all the clouds are reminders of God’s presence and promises.
Maybe the darkness of 2020-now is to make way for God’s light and to bring us to it/Him.
…Olivia Knight, “cling”
So I cling to these seconds
Where the light shines through
And I cling
Like a sentenced man
The seconds where the light shines through.
I hope y’all aren’t sick of me mentioning unnecessary blessings, noticing blessings every day, how I have seen God in the beauty around me, etc. It just keeps coming up. 😄
And I think that’s good. I think it’s good for me to take note of the good in every day, good to make thanksgiving a part of my everyday life instead of just a day of my life.
It’s perhaps especially good during the hard days.
It helps me take my eyes off my feelings and look at the facts.
… We have so much to be grateful for. . . and all too often, we don’t even see it.me, in Shouting Out Praises (underlining added)
Maybe we’re too busy. Maybe we’re too focused on other things. Maybe we don’t take the time to think about and realize the blessings we’ve been given. Maybe we’ve decided that we’re not going to enjoy this and so our eyes and hearts are blinded to the blessings, at least in the moment (click here to read about my experience with that).
But the blessings are there. The reasons to praise God are there.
It helps me find happiness/delight in even the “little” things. And, since there are more “little” things than “big” things, I can be happy more often. I can be content with being right where I am, doing what I am, etc. instead of always longing for something “bigger” and “better”.
It helps me see those seconds where the light shines through the darkness.
When all is bright and well, we so easily take it for granted. We become “fat and lazy,” just cruising through life, not depending on God, etc. We don’t use flashlights while underneath the blazing noon sun; we don’t realize how powerful even the littlest flashlight can be.
But when you’re in the dark, every bit of light counts, matters, is appreciated. Every pinpoint and beam draws us closer, closer to the One True Light.
… Even the smallest sliver of His light completely destroysLysa TerKeurst, from Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
the black bleakness of today’s troubles. …
Maybe the darkness of 2020-now is opening our eyes to the light we often missed and underappreciated during the summer days. Maybe it’s to help us slow down and notice and appreciate and fill up and “cling / Like a sentenced man / To [God].”
For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.Psalm 18:28 (KJV, NIV)
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
An artist I follow on Instagram recently shared some phone wallpapers of a lantern with the above verse (I believe she used the NIV version or something very similar). It’s currently set as my home screen because I need that reminder.
God will enlighten my darkness, turn it into light.
It may be dark and hard right now. It may feel that way a lot of the time.
But it won’t always be like this. This is not the end; this world is not my home.
Maybe the darkness of 2020-now is to help us cling to His promises of light and love and hope and joy and all such things. Maybe it’s to help us remember that this is temporary, that we’re pilgrims here, that “the best is yet to be.”
So yes, it has been–still is–a dark couple of years. But I believe–rebelliously hope–that it’s beginning to grow light.
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:Isaiah 9:2 (KJV)
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.