Saturday

Sharing Hope in Dark Places

I've been in a dark place. Where people have not seen the Light, where people do not know that the Light exists - because they are shrouded by a black fog of man-imposed religiosity apart from God, and they are imprisoned by the towering walls of ignorance, unbelief, oppression, and survival and suffering devoid of meaning. In such a place, I found for the first time how difficult it is for me to remain connected with God. One inevitably gets lost in the blackness. But not unless one fights to remain alert, to find rest and joy in Christ, to show love, to rely on the Spirit of God, to pray even when it is difficult to find the words.

The past weeks that I've been in the Druze village, I've struggled with all this. (You can read more of my travel and volunteer experiences in Israel at my travel journal site Wayfarer By Faith.) It is difficult when you are in such a spiritually dark place. People just do what they have to do to survive, to be accepted by their village members and by the religious men. People wake, work, eat and sleep without giving thought to new possibilities, to a deeper purpose in life. I can discern that underneath all the hustle and bustle, the endless visits, the weddings, the religious and cultural celebrations, there is a tension between fear and discontent. People are discontent (especially the younger generation), and they know something is wrong, but they are too fearful to voice their misgivings and to step out of the pack. In such a subtly oppressive environment, you are inevitably lulled into a certain inescapable complacency. You accept what has been and was and is the norm in the village. You don't realize that there are precious few a seeking soul who might be ready to awaken to the Light that you could reflect to them through your words and actions. That is my personal failure.

There are times when I seized the windows of opportunity to share the love and truth I've found, but at other times, I missed the chance because I was too busy with doing what I thought I had to do. Our hearts and souls are at stake - and so our very life in the present is at stake. Those who have not heard of the Light might be so close to receiving it, but yet they have not had the chance to see the signpost that points to it. I have been wondering if this is my deepest calling, as a person and as a follower of Jesus. If joy and hope found in Christ has been the best thing I have ever found and which I know I'll never find anywhere else, why should I be ashamed to share it?

~ J a n i e ll e

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