Something wonderful happened last week, my oldest niece Norah put her hope in Jesus. Kristian said something so beautiful when he texted the family that has had me thinking. He said, “The darkness can’t have her, she belongs to the light.” What a proclamation to be able to make about your daughter. I pray all the time that one day I will get to experience that with my kids because I know firsthand, EVERYTHING in this world pales in comparison to being loved and found by Jesus. However, I also know firsthand that choosing Jesus is a daily thing.
I have had this question though that has nagged at me over the past year, can the darkness win? Not even in my own life but in so many of the people I love. Can the darkness take you over even after you know and love Jesus? Can the world be appealing enough to lure you back to the lies you once saw so clearly as lies? The more I experience life the more I think we are settling for a water downed version of Jesus.
This weekend I served at our churches my life for high school kids which is essentially dnow if you were raised in a traditional church like me. The weekend was about dating and purity so needless to say there wasn’t a dull moment. Then on the last night they extended two invitations, one to know Jesus for the first time and one if you’ve walked away and need to come back to the purity God is calling us to in dating relationships. I saw one guy in the front weeping as he accepted Jesus for the first time, his group was embracing him (I was also weeping because I have kids now and I cry a lot). I’m sure his prayer was that life would be different from then on, but as the second invitation was made even more hands went up. Hands that already knew Jesus but had chosen something less, hands that once wept the same tears as they met Jesus for the first time. Hands that made promises and prayed prayers but Monday came and life came, and school came, and the darkness looked grey and appealing.
I kept thinking about these kids who put their hope in Jesus for the first time and I wanted to warn them, Monday will be hard. School will be the same, your friends won’t have experienced the same thing as you, and you will wonder if the tears and the prayers meant anything. You will wonder if the light is really worth fighting for. The darkness cannot claim you on the other side of earth but here you will still face earthly temptations. Jesus promised us troubles and heartache. Here you will have to face the same temptations as everyone else chose to honor God even when you’re the only one.
You will have to decide if he is worth living for when finances are tough, when your single, when you are lonely, when you are made fun of for choices you make, when your marriage is tough, when your family isn’t what you pictured, when your career isn’t all you dreamed, and the diagnosis isn’t good. We all have to decide if we will let the darkness take us over or will we believe God is who he says he is. The darkness always comes for us, it whispers lies that feel true and ask you to walk away from the God who loves you. It makes promises it can’t keep with temptation that looks appealing.
I truly believe Jesus isn’t just our get out of hell free card, I think he is so much more. I think he is inviting us into our best life here. A life filled with so much more purpose than just temporary happiness. I think he is worth choosing no matter what your circumstances are. I think he gives us hope in the midst of heartache and peace in hard days but we have a choice, will we waste the life we have fumbling between the dark and the light or will we live on fire for Jesus…no matter the cost.