This devotion was originally published in December 2017.
Our nation and our world are growing darker by the moment. Ignorance, defiance, rebellion, deception, violence, greed, anger, dishonesty, immorality and murder have become almost commonplace. As I was wondering what you and I could do that would make any difference, I was reminded of Genesis 1:1-3 by a Christian brother, Sammy Rodriguez, in a message he delivered to the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Genesis 1 tells us that in the beginning, God created everything. As planet Earth dangled like a shapeless blob in space, it was covered in darkness. The first words that God spoke were not, “Let there be love,” or “Let there be hope” or “Let there be faith.” His first words were, “Let there be light.” As a result, this planet and the cosmos were forever changed.
God’s response to darkness was to turn on the Light. Thousands of years later, on a dark, starry night outside of Bethlehem, once again God spoke into the darkness and in essence said, “Let there be Light.” And a Baby was born—a Baby who was Himself the Light of the world. And human history was forever changed.
What should be our response to the darkness in our world? For myself, I want to turn on the Light. Because …
When a light is turned on, it immediately makes itself known, and it reveals objects not seen in the darkness.
Light reveals itself
How is God described in 1 John 1:5? What do you think this means?
With a frequency that is amazing, the Bible affirms the fact of the bodily resurrection of Christ. Perhaps the most direct of all its statements is Luke’s account in the book of Acts, where he reports, “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days” (Acts 1:3). What are we going to do with these “many infallible proofs”? Someone asked my colleague George Beverly Shea how much he knew about God. He said, “I don’t know much, but what I do know has changed my life.” We may not be able to take all of this evidence into a scientific laboratory and prove it; but, if we accept any fact of history, we must accept the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
The wedding guests were in place. The grandparents were properly seated in the second row. The mother of the bride had just been escorted to the first row, across the aisle from the groom’s mother and dad. The air was filled with the kind of indescribable excitement that only a wedding can bring.
This was especially true for me, since I was the dad at the back of the church with our daughter Missy on my arm. She had waited a lifetime for this very moment.
The pastor and our future son-in-law were preparing to enter the church from one of the sanctuary’s front doors on the organist’s cue. They checked to be sure that everything was in place. It was, including the wireless microphone clipped to the minister’s robe. Unfortunately, the minister didn’t know that the mike was on!
“Well, Jon,” Reverend DeVries joked to the anxious groom, “You can still back out.” Of course, neither man had any idea that this very private conversation was being broadcast to almost 600 people. The congregation held its collective breath.
“No way,” was all Jon said.
An audible snicker passed over the seated guests like a wave. My wife sighed in relief. The color returned to the faces of Jon’s parents.
Has this ever happened to you? You have done everything in your power to do the right thing. No stone is left unturned. In your opinion, your plan is as perfect as a plan could be. Nothing could have described our daughter’s wedding better than this. But in spite of all of this detailed planning, the technician in the sound booth turned the microphone on too early. It could have been an embarrassing disaster.
Joseph’s brothers had followed his instructions to perfection. They had done everything exactly as they were told to do. But at his master’s command, Joseph’s servant had slipped a silver chalice into Benjamin’s sack of grain, and now these men were being accused of stealing — and they weren’t guilty. So they returned to Egypt and threw themselves at Joseph’s feet, begging for his mercy.
Isn’t it interesting that, even though they were not guilty of this particular charge, they knew they still needed forgiveness? Because of other things they had done — selling their brother like a used car, for one — they still needed Joseph’s mercy.
Regardless of how well you and I have planned this day, something will probably go wrong. One of those little unexpected things will pop up, and we’ll be faced with a little — or a substantial — detour.
Well, our merciful Heavenly Father has a little message for us. In spite of the seeming flawlessness of our plans, something will develop a glitch. Count on it. And the lesson to be learned is the one these men learned that day. Perfection is unachievable. God’s mercy is always necessary for our inescapable sinfulness . . . impeccable plans and all.