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Hope in Darkness

6 December 2021

It’s a terrible time to celebrate Christmas, isn’t it? With the spectre of the newly minted Omicron COVID-19 lurking over our shores, I wonder if it’s going to be yet another cold Christmas, where families and individuals would again be isolated from their loved ones.

It’s hard to hold on to hope when darkness is all around us, and darkness is all we see ahead. It’s likely we would think, “Where is God in all this?” as we struggle daily in our lives. That’s what Job felt when God took nearly everything from him and left him with a dreadful skin disease (Job 2:7).

How and why did all this happen?

At the start of the Book of Job, there was a scene where all the angels (including Satan) presented themselves to the Lord. And God said to Satan, “Have you seen my servant Job – there is none like him in all the earth.” And Satan replied, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” What Satan was doing was questioning the very idea that Job obeys God because he really loves God, or is he obeying because he’s in a transactional relationship with God. He’s implying, “Job is using you, God. He’s a mercenary. He’s trading you his obedience for your blessings.” And so, to prove otherwise, God allowed Satan to take away all things from Job.

We further learned that Job cried out to God about his suffering, he was angry at God, he was rebuking God harshly, bordering on blasphemy. And yet, at the end God said, “Job has honoured me.” Why did God say that? You see, the answer is that these are prayers – Yes, Job was angry, he was frustrated, he was in agony, but the thing is this: he never walked away from God. Despite what happened, he never cursed God, never turned his back, never said, “I quit.”

He said, “I don’t understand, I’m angry at you” but he never turned away. Job stayed with God although he got nothing out of it – and that means Satan was wrong. Job wasn’t a mercenary and he wasn't staying with God because he had something to gain.

Are you staying by God’s side? It’s ok to feel angry and frustrated at God. And perhaps your prayer isn’t what you would want others to hear… because you’re in darkness and you don’t feel God is there with you. But you can hold on, and you can say, “God… I know you’re there… although you’re not giving me your comfort, you’re not giving me your peace in any way. I don’t feel your love… I don’t feel your presence. I don’t see your blessings on me or my family… BUT I’m still going to pray. I’m still coming to church, I’m still going to worship you, I’m still going to obey you.”

And that, I believe, will turn you into a person who is not self-centred, who is not in a transactional relationship, but a person of endurance, of stability, it’ll turn you into a great person.

I believe in this because Jesus died for us in both inner and outer darkness on the Cross. For our sake, He experienced true abandonment by His Father on the Cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He suffered true absolute darkness so that none of us would ever have to experience that darkness.

Even in what we perceived to be our darkest moments are but outer darkness, for our God will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut 31:8).

So my brother and sister, hold on to the God who loves you enough to give you His Son.

Rev. Daniel Gan

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