When I was a kid, I was terribly afraid of the dark. Each night, I would hate going to bed at night because I did not want to be alone in the dark. As a result, my parent’s tried several compromises. For a while, I slept in my sister’s room . . . being with someone helped ease the fear. When I wore out my welcome in Debbie’s room, my parents went to “Plan B” which was leaving my lamp on when I went to bed. After I fell asleep, my Dad would come in (on his way to bed) and turn off my lamp. At the time, I was very appreciative of these concessions. Companionship and light allowed me to sleep easy even if I could not see what was causing the shadow from my closet or the monsters that I was certain were hiding under my bed.
What is it about the dark that makes things so scary? Being afraid of the dark is not just something that small children face. As adults, every scary movie we have ever seen is set at night. I have heard that elderly people in nursing homes often become afraid of the dark all over again. So, what is it about the dark that makes our heart race faster?
I believe the reason we are afraid of the dark is because in the darkness, there all of our world becomes unclear, uncertain, or unknown. In the light, we can tell that the mysterious figure in the corner of the room is a teddy bear, not a bad guy, but in the dark, we cannot be certain. In the light, the moving shadows on our floor are branches swaying in the wind, but in the dark, it just looks more ominous.
Because of our natural fear of the dark, Jesus words in John 8:12 offer incredible hope and promise. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Notice what Jesus says there. The “light of the world” that He represents is the “light of life.” In other words, the greatest piece of darkness that people are fearful of is the darkness of death. One day, the lights of this life will come to an end for each of us, and (on our own), the darkness of death is terrifying.
What will life after death be like? On our own and without the revelation of God, we have no idea. Where will I spend eternity? Is death more of a “period” or a “comma” in the sentence of my life? Have I lived my life “good enough” to be in a preferred spot, or could my eternity hold the unthinkable as a final destination? These questions, like shadows on the floor of a child’s darkened room, frighten us and cause us to long for help . . . companionship, or even light itself!
Jesus hears our cries of fear and does something amazing. He comes to be with us and He lets us know that He is our light. With Him, our future does not look so dark. With Him, our journey beyond the door of death is not filled with uncertainty and judgment, but is filled with promise and paradise. Jesus says in 8:23-24, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” Jesus was saying that eternity is a scary, dark place for those who “go it alone” because their sins will lead to an undesirable future. However, if we believe that Jesus “is who He claims to be” (namely the Son of God and our Savior), then our future is much different.
If the darkness of death frightens you, fear not. Belief in Jesus Christ turns on the light of life to you for all eternity!