Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Let There Be Light!

Saturday, October 25, 2008, 20:49
This news item was posted in Teen Talk category.
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by Dr. Chuck Baynard
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Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

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For most of us the whole Viet Nam experience was one of darkness, despair, and frustration. It was unique in that there were no front lines, you lived with death no matter where you were twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Without being there you cannot begin to imagine the frustration of fighting for your life one minute, watching friends mutilated or killed; only to be told the next moment that there is a unilateral cease fire in effect and you are not to shoot at or engage the enemy unless absolutely necessary in self defense. Or the loneliness that came to you as you read the latest (several weeks old) newspaper from home to see the public you thought you were fighting for held the military as a whole in complete disdain. That your peers returning to the safety of home were being received not with open arms, but protests, and angry mobs calling them names and spitting on them.

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Then there was that tactical maneuver called night ambush. Surely Satan himself dreamed up this nightmare from hell. In this event you picked high ground over looking an intersection. You made lots of noise and made sure everything in the jungle knew you were setting up an ambush on that intersection. With the coming of darkness you took your small arms and crawled away into the surrounding jungle to set up an ambush on another section of trail, usually low ground, and more often than not in the rainy season under six to eight inches of water . Here in total darkness, and the still of the night where your own heart sounded like a bass drum you waited in the darkness, knowing that before the sun returned, you would kill or be killed. How often I have played that role, praying “dear God, where is the light?”

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Those were dark days, but they did pass. Those were emotions I thought I would never see again. How wrong I was. As bad as things were there in the jungle. As lonely and forsaken as we felt, there was a purpose, we knew when our time in country would end and eagerly awaited that day we set sail for fairer shores. Yet, every day I meet people who are just as lonely, scared, and rejected as we were there in the jungle. The causes are harder to discern, but the depth of the pit is the same, and there in the midst of the bright light of day, stand millions in the pit of darkness called depression and despair. The numbers taking things into their own hands and seeking ways to end their lives seems to climb every day. The numbers of adolescents and young adults in this category is at an all time high.

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There is so much I would like to share with those who are facing circumstances that they are finding overwhelming, situations where they see no hope, where the light of life has gone out. It is hard to try and set a priority to the list and decide what to share first. Perhaps the beginning point is this; do not apply a permanent solution to a temporary problem! No matter how dark or long the night seems, it will pass and the sun will shine again. Life does go on, and there is a place in the sunshine for you.

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Next I think I would want to share with you another great truth, you are not alone. Sitting there in the dark, unable to see, or hear anything other than your own heart beat, it is easy to imagine you are the only one. This isn’t true! No matter how unique you think your circumstances are, I assure you, thousands of others are in the exact same place at the same instant in time. In these dark corridors we believe the lies of the deceiver and allow ourselves to be isolated from the help, people we need so desperately.

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Total despair and hopelessness only come with the acceptance of the lies of the devil. When we can begin to recognize the lies, and dispute them, we have begun the trip toward the light. These lies are easier to recognize than we might think. They tend to be very generic, or broad statements. For example: everyone is against you, everyone is laughing at you, no one cares about you. Such generalized statements cannot be true. There are very few things if any in life that everyone agrees on or no one cares about. Try taking a timer and set it to alarm every thirty minutes. When the timer goes off, write down the first thing that comes to your mind. Exactly what are you thinking at that moment? After several hours of this you will see this pattern of generalized negative thinking is happening. Once you can recognize this, you can replace the negative things with the things of light, and almost instantly begin to notice that all of life is much brighter. The Bible has this to say about using just this tactic to defeat Satan and darkness, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

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As mentioned above, dont apply permanent solutions to temporary problems. We made it through Viet Nam because we knew that on a given date our term would be over and we would go home. Our sole task then was to stay alert and keep ourselves alive until our time to come in from the darkness arrived. Most of us kept calendars and began marking the days off as soon as we arrived in country. At first this seemed silly with a whole year to go, we could start the count down later. But, nonetheless most of us began our calendars soon after arrival and were faithful in marking those days off as they passed. Most situations we find ourselves in do have some sort of time schedule; when we reach a certain age, a certain event takes place, etc. Even for events that don=t have a definite date we can set a date as the goal and begin marking time until the arrival of D-day. With an end in sight, we can handle anything. It is the unknown and uncertain that drives us over the edge. With Christ the destination is certain, and great comfort is to be had in this sure knowledge.

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Taking one’s own life settles nothing and is the most selfish act one will ever take. Sounds harsh, but this is the truth. No one lives in that total isolation they have allowed themselves to believe exists. There are others who do care and your passing will have a tremendous impact on them. Loved ones, and especially children will be marked by this selfish act for years to come. It has settled nothing for anyone. The hurt and legal entanglements will most often be more of a hardship on our families than facing whatever it is we have or have not done that is causing the pain to drive us to this point. Notes and other assurances will not solve this issue, the hurt, guilt, and doubts will be there for a long time. As an act of vengeance it makes even less sense. Yes they may be sorry at your passing; yes they may feel sorry for what they have or haven=t done that led to your taking this drastic step. But, they will recover! It is given to man once to die, then the judgment! You will not get over it for all of eternity. Life on earth is temporary at best, yet you have taken an eternal answer. There is no logic in this.

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Jesus is the true light, and the life of man. The only hope we have is in Him. Apart from the promise of God of life eternal, our lives are vain indeed, and we need not worry about whether we live or die. If this light of life, Jesus Christ did not exist, we could not have the opposite, the prince of darkness and death. Thus the analogy for man from the beginning of time has been this eternal war between the forces of light and dark, good and evil. As created beings, Satan and the fallen angels cannot defeat their all-powerful Creator. Yet as they continue to try, and the destiny of man seems to be played out on this giant game board called life. Jesus brings light, logic, and hope to this playing field. Here we no longer need to stumble around alone in the darkness, for God Himself is our light. With Christ we understand this is not a game, and we are not therefore pawns in the game of life. Suddenly with the coming of His divine light we know God is in control.

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Satan is a liar and the father of liars says the Bible. The only absolute and truth in the universe is God. God has revealed Himself in the pages of the Bible. Here then is the instruction book for life abundant and eternal. No this is not happy hour at Clancy’s Bar; there will still be trials and tribulations in life, the garden of Eden is past and sin has destroyed this world’s perfection. Yet we can know God and walk in His light so that no matter how dark the way, no matter how steep the path, we are able to put one foot before the other and continue on. Here then is peace and contentment that does not raise us above the troubled waters, but give us the power and ability to look life in the face and come out the victor in Christ. Apart from Him we have no hope and all is lost. Does not seem like a hard choice does it? Yet few seem to find the switch and turn on the light.

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The answers needed to face life, and live it to the fullest are only found in the Bible. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added unto you. Jesus is the only answer to life. Where did you attend church this week? Which youth group, Sunday school class, or peer group in a church are you active in? Which Christian brother or sister do you turn to in the darkness?

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Dr. Baynard is an Associate Editor of the Christian Observer and Senior Pastor at Clover Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Clover, South Carolina

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