Into the Valley of Darkness

What hope is there in this world? More specifically, what hope is there in this world outside of Christ?

Somewhere in the world tonight, a child cowers in fear as he hides from his drunken father. In his drunken rage he is looking to beat someone down and since the mother has already escaped his grasp, he searches for his son. In this sickening world, he will find his son, and he will throw his son around, slap him, punch him, and leave him bloodied and bruised. What do we say to this little boy?

Sometime tonight a father is going to wake up to police at his door, telling him that his son has died in a car crash. This child he has been blessed with, struggled with, and fought to bring up in this world and keep safe will no longer be with him. He will not see his son’s wedding, he will not see his son graduate from college; his son will be nothing more than a memory to him at that point. What do we say to this grieving father?

Across town, a young mother to be discovers she’s pregnant. When she goes to the father, he refuses to take any responsibility. Her church ostracizes her when they find out and her parents tell her she can’t stay in the house if she has that baby. With not other options she walks toward the abortion clinic. As she stands in front of it, hopeless and alone, what do we say to her?

At this point, right now in the world, a child is starving, a young African boy is being forced into military service, a child is being put into forced labor (human trafficking); to these victims, what do we say?

Do we, for the sake of political correctness, take the secular point of view? Do we tell them that we are sorry such things have occurred, but we will enact legislation that will make their lives better? What hope is there in legislation? What hope is there in political promises? They are not made better. They are not made whole. They still suffer.

Do we attempt to act like a modern “intellectual” and give them the naturalistic answer for their plight? Do we tell the little boy that his beatings are simply the result of millions of years of DNA coding in his father? Do we tell the father that his son’s death might actually be good because it helps to lower our population, thus increasing our society’s chance of survival? Do we tell these victims around the world that in the end, their suffering doesn’t matter because that is simply a part of evolution? Do we tell them to stop complaining and give up hope because ultimately there is nothing to this world? They are not made better. They are not made whole. They still suffer.

Do we try to give an Eastern answer? Do we try to convince them that these “ills” are really in the mind? Do we tell them that they simply have bad karma, that they brought it on themselves and that the only way to gain good karma is to struggle through these pains? What hope is there in that? To blame the victim and give them the “hope” that one day they will reincarnate only to face the same plights in a different life. They are not made better. They are not made whole. They still suffer.

When they come crying to us, when we see the pain they are suffering, what do we say? We quote the words of Christ:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

We tell them that God has not ignored their plight. We tell them the good news of Christ. We let them know that God came down and suffered as they suffer. We let them know that Christ died so that we might be free.

We tell them of the victorious Christ, who though He may not end their suffering in this life, will give them grace to endure now so that they might reign with Him in the next. We tell them that the troubles of this life have no power over them because the precious blood of Christ was spilt so long ago on Calvary.

We tell them of the God who died for them so that they might rest in Him. We do tell them of Heaven and Hell, of their sins being removed, but salvation is much more than this. Salvation is Sabbath, salvation is rest.

We can look to the abused child and tell him of a Father that loves him. We can look to the father grieving over his son and tell him about eternal life. We can look to the young mother and tell her how God carefully designed her child and how He has blessed her, though there will be tribulations to come. We can look to the burdened of this world and tell them, “Rest, rest in Christ.”

We walk in the valley of the shadow of death because our mountains of burdens tower over us, hiding any and all light; these burdens, these mountains, hide hope. They hide hope of better circumstances. They hide the hope of salvation.

The mountains of life tower over us and cast a dark shadow, darkening the path of all who attempt to walk it. But there stands Christ, victorious in His resurrection, holding out His hand offering carry us, saying, “Don’t worry my child, these mountains are mine. Come with me to the top, let me carry you, and you shall rest with me for eternity.”