8:18

Dawn on a dark road

Dawn on a dark road

There has never been a more dramatic sunrise.

Not this one, though I am very happy to have found this moment while driving the back roads around my town.  No, I’m referring to the light that breaks upon the people of God in the beginning of Isaiah 9.

            The people who walked in darkness
                        have seen a great light;
            those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
                        on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)

Remember, the previous verses made it clear that for the Israelites, their rebellion against God has led them onto a path of “fearful gloom” and “utter darkness.”  They are getting what they asked for: God will leave them alone.  Utterly alone.  Left to the consequences of their sin.

But there are faithful believers in the mix, also experiencing the falling darkness.  How troubled their hearts must be.

To them, God promises the great light of the coming Messiah.

This week, both of my scheduled events cancelled.  I could be looking at months without work.   My daughter, home from college, has been told by the university that the doors are shut for a while.  It feels very much like our country is heading down a dark road of isolation and fear.

In a long freelance career, though, I’ve known many dark nights.  I have stared into immediate futures that looked grim and foreboding, with little in the bank account and little promise of work.

And I have learned the valuable lessons of desperate times:  God is trustworthy.  And God is with his people.

As Isaiah promises: a son is given.  Not just any child, but one with four powerful descriptors:

Wonderful Counselor: with supernatural wisdom

Mighty God: the omnipotent One, with power to deliver

Everlasting Father: the permanent King, ever concerned with his people

Prince of Peace: bringing wholeness and completeness in his rule

This is Jesus, on whom we rely in all of our situations, good and bad.  He is the one who brings us through.  And not just through, but beyond -- into a place of joy (Is. 9:3) and thriving (9:7).

He is the light of dawn to those who look to him.

Who lift their eyes from the dark road.

Jesus, we look up to you.  You are the sun that gives our hearts warmth and hope.  The darkness will not define us.  For we are your people, and you are our Savior.  Bring your wisdom, power, permanence and peace into our lives even today.

Reader:  Which of the four titles above speaks the loudest to you today?

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.