When I was in college, I joined a fraternity. Why? I have no idea. It just seemed like the thing to do at the time. “Hazing” was part of the ritual for being accepted into a fraternity. Wearing a “beanie,” addressing members of the fraternity by calling them “Sir,” carrying a member’s meal tray at one of the three meals every day, running errands for them were just a few of the things we had to do. The worst was being awakened at three in the morning, having a blind fold put on, and being put in a car with your fellow pledges and then being dropped off alone in the middle of the countryside, having to figure out how to get back to campus.
One by one we were told to get out of the car. The Minnesota countryside is cold and dark in April, and when you’re alone it seems even colder and darker. When you are a city boy, there is no such thing as ‘east’ or ‘west’ in the city. Directions are given by landmark.
“Go down Northwest Highway, and when you get to the bowling alley, take a right onto Foster Avenue,” etc. So, I stood there in the dark, not knowing what to do or where to go. And suddenly I saw a flash of light. At first, I thought it was lightning, but the sky was perfectly clear. And then another flash, and another. I began to walk toward the flashing light, waiting for bears, tigers, or mountain lions to jump out at me. (There are bears, tigers, and mountains lions in Minnesota, right?)
Suddenly I saw a lone figure, and then the light. It was one of my frat brothers. He had smuggled out a flashlight and was signaling to us. Shortly after I connected with my frat brother, our other frat pledge appeared.
We walked down the road together. Soon we came to a farmhouse. The lights were on, so we knocked on the door. (Lights in the darkness again.) A woman answered. We told her who we were and what we were doing out on the back roads. She invited us in. Her husband was out feeding cattle, and if we waited, she would fix us breakfast when he got back.
After he arrived, we ate and he drove us back to campus. All in all, it worked out well. But my salvation was the light! In the midst of the darkness, the light shined. It was a beacon of hope. It gave me guidance and direction, but most of all it gave me hope.
In the first chapter of John we read, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” When we face the darkness of disappointment, heartbreak, frustration, or loss, the light of Christ shines in the darkness. The light of Christ is our hope, is our promise that no matter what we face, no matter what we go through, no matter what odds we face, we will have the light of Christ to guide and direct us safely to the Kingdom of God.
When life is heaping it on you, take a moment to look for the light; for the darkness has not overcome it, and the darkness will not overcome you.