On Sunday, the clocks change in the UK, ending British Summer Time, and heralding in what our ancestors termed as the ‘Season of Darkness’, when the nights get longer, and the daylight hours diminish—particularly noticeable in the north of our country.
In a world without electric lights, the dark held all sorts of terrors in the ancient world: real, imagined, and supernatural. ‘Powers of darkness’ were particularly thought to pose a threat, and numerous rites and incantations developed as a means of dealing with them.
Today we can fall into the trap of either glorifying the ‘powers of darkness’; doubting their whole existence; or trivialising them, all three demonstrated in the increasing preoccupation with Halloween celebrations, and all three, dangerous positions.
The truth is that there are real ‘dark’ supernatural powers which are at work in the distress and destruction in our world. At best, making them the focus of our festivities and entertainment dishonours the Lord who paid such a huge price to defeat them; at worst we open ourselves up to seriously negative influences. It's not a good idea to play with fire...
In addition, the news is full of the evil perpetrated by the one who has come to destroy and devour [1 John 5:19]. However, the Bible is clear that we do not need to be afraid, for there is a higher truth:
The Lord is my light and my salvation--
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord--
the thing I seek most--
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
The Lord Himself is our place of refuge. We are not in a battle between equal powers of good and evil, He is ruler of all, and victory has already been won. Whatever befalls us, He has promised that we can hide ourselves in Him. So during seasons when it is physically or spiritually dark, let's celebrate Jesus, the Lord of Light—remembering that light always vanquishes darkness!
For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
(Jesus) made a public spectacle of them,
triumphing over them by the cross.
If the darkness holds particular fears for you, take a look at the Psalm 91 page on this website.
And take time out to be still before the Lord and let the Lord Almighty quiet your anxieties, with this song from Paul Wilbur*:
NEXT WEEK: LISTEN FOR THE STILL SMALL VOICE
When we are struggling, let's go back to the place of Covenant to listen for the still small voice…
OVER TO YOU...
[Photo credits: Joshua Bartell (lantern); Diego Ph (lightbulb) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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