Connections 04.11.2021: Walk in the Light

1 John 1:1–2:2

When my daughter Samantha was in fifth grade, I accompanied her on a school field trip to Dahlonega, Georgia. One of the activities was touring the Consolidated Gold Mine. The students got to pan for gold (and other pretty rocks), and then we descended into the actual mine. Samantha was fine until we got to the bottom. As we followed the tour guide and listened to his explanations, Samantha noticed the tunnels, lined with old mine car tracks, snaking off into the darkness. I felt her grip my arm.

I didn’t realize how frightened she was until the guide had everyone stop in place and then flipped off the light switch. Suddenly, the dim lights around the tops of the cave walls went out. We were plunged into thick pitch blackness. Samantha was terrified. When the lights came back on, the tour guide noticed her distress and offered her his flashlight, just in case. She took it and was glad for it, but all she wanted to do was get out of there as quickly as possible. Her stomach and head were hurting; fear was making her sick.

This is the same child who would later strap into a safety harness, climb the spikes of a 40-foot utility pole, and happily zipline back to earth without fear. It was something about the darkness deep below the earth that frightened her.

The Bible frequently uses darkness as a metaphor for chaos, evil, sin, suffering, and fear. For people accustomed to using eyesight to get around in the world, it’s an apt metaphor. When we experience the consequences of sin or evil or suffering, it can seem like we’re lost in a dark cave with no light to guide our path.

The Bible also uses light as a metaphor for God’s love, direction, comfort, and hope. Just like those lights took away the thick darkness of the gold mine, God lights our way in the darkness. When we nurture our relationship with Jesus, we can walk through difficult times with grace. It’s like having a flashlight in the dark. The dark is still there, but the light dissipates it and makes it less scary.

“God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5b). Whether or not we have good physical vision, we can sense the light of God in ourselves and in other people who love God too. Let’s walk in the light together, and, with God’s grace and love, let’s help each other through the dark times.

Discussion

  • Have you ever experienced true physical darkness? If so, what was that like?
  • What are some of the darkest times you have endured in your life thus far?
  • How did you find your way out of those dark times?
  • Who has been the light of God to you?
  • Who needs to see the light of God shining in you?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

*****

For further resources, subscribe to the Formations Teaching Guide and Commentary. Additionally, the Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is a scholarly but accessible means for enhancing your study of each lesson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

*