I’m teetering on a precipice again today as light shines equally on us all, realizing I have a choice in the light and the dark. It’s strange though; I don’t think my choice is either light or dark. I think my choice is to cling to hope amid both.
I just finished the book The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. This quote near the end really grasped my heart. It spoke to me of my struggle being sentenced to a life without Elliot.
“To the contrary, hopeful thinking—insofar as it expresses our loftiest desires and deepest yearnings—is far more reasonable, given what we know (or do not know) about the universe, than Russell’s “unyielding despair.” For whereas hope is compatible with the absence of certitude, despair is not; whereas hope is compatible with a healthy skepticism concerning the nature of the universe, despair is not. Despair requires that, like Russell, we regard a host of dubious propositions as “nearly certain.” It emerges only when we know, or think we know, that our condition is hopeless. So even if there were no such thing as revelation, and even if we had no positive grounds for believing in God beyond a vague sense that the power responsible for bringing the universe and, more specifically, human life into existence must be wondrous indeed—even if all of this were true, we would still do well, I contend, to stake everything on hope rather than upon despair.”
It spoke to me of the daily choice I have to “stake everything on hope rather than upon despair.” I don’t always believe justice and mercy will come to the suffering; I hope for it. I don’t always feel assured the love of Christ overcomes all evil; but I sure hope for it to be so. I am not always certain God and heaven exist; but I hope, I hope, I hope. “Hopeful thinking…is far more reasonable…than despair.”
Deep breath. Okay.
What if, what if…in my hope I can see a different side to this fact of being sentenced to life? I mean, what if life is REALLY what Jesus meant when he said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”? What if John wasn’t lying when he wrote, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was LIFE and that LIFE was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”?
Jesus’s life is the light of all mankind. Isn’t that interesting? And different than we think of and often treat our fellow man. If His life is the light for us all, and his life is everlasting, then the light will win. Darkness pervades much of reality now. Babies shouldn’t die. Pandemics shouldn’t occur. Human beings should not be trafficked, abused, or suffer of starvation. Children should never grow up without loving families. Yet these things are present and very real.
And Jesus lives. This is my hope, my choice against despair: LIFE. I have to work this out frequently as an antidote to the weight grief lays on my chest. I realize there is a different way to think of being sentenced to life. I am sentenced to abundant life in Jesus, forever. I can’t escape him even if I tried. He is everywhere, loving every atom of us. He is not far, and he has not forgotten you. I am awakening to a light that can’t be overcome by darkness, one in which suffering, disease, and death don’t have a home.
One little boy taught me this, and he keeps teaching me. Look at his little face, his little hands, his little chest. He is every child, those who live in loving homes and those who live in fear. He is every mother’s tears, for the children she worries about, the children she’s fighting with, the children she’s buried. He is every stressed citizen of every country, wondering what tomorrow will bring.
Photograph courtesy of the Treibel family
Don’t you see? Jesus’ light shines in the little boy in this picture, doesn’t it? Despite the tubes and cords? Despite knowing this little boy was to die? Nothing can snuff out the light that shines in the life of our Savior. And it shines in you and me if we’ll let it. We can choose today to be sentenced to a life so abundant, we really can keep going.
I picture our world floating in space at this very moment with the sun shining exactly half the day on every man, woman, and child. It silently spins, oblivious to every frenzy we’re feeling. Then darkness, too, will fall. Some people will suffer much more than others. But no matter the light or dark, Jesus WILL be there. In his life is the light of all of us. We’ve got to try to live like it.
Being sentenced to life in Him means the darkness may take up half the day for now, but his light will overcome. I must have hope in that. I want you to have hope in that. I hope in the light of his life for every ounce of suffering which has occurred across millennia for countless billions. And I must hope for my one broken mama’s heart and the boy I am determined to hold again.
In the space between light and dark, on the precipice of life and death, I cling stubbornly to hope. Christ has sentenced me to abundant life, and that life is the light of me. So, like my Elliot did and does still each day, I’m gonna let it shine.