You don’t have to look far before you realize how dark this world can be. From the fact that we still have millions of people around the world in slavery to the fact that we have still not evolved past a point of wars, torture and cold-blooded massacre, man’s capacity for evil is clearly great. Forget these extreme examples—just turn on the evening news and you’ll see how warped this world can be. Go to any school and witness just how mean kids can be, as the CDC estimates that 4,400 young people commit suicide every year in the U.S. as a result of bullying, and one-hundred times that many children, teens, and young adults attempt it. Watch a movie like “Prisoners,” or a show like “Criminal Minds,” and realize how many crazy people there are in the world and just how defenseless we can really be.
Watch a movie like “Mean Girls” and lose all faith in humanity…
You get the point. The world is screwed up, and not just in violent ways. We live in a culture that worships self and money—yet, in an ironic twist, this culture destroys people’s sense of self and squanders away their dearest assets. It is a culture that elevates utility and pleasure over the inherent dignity of life and the primacy of the human person. Even relationships centered on “love” come to an end, as a person’s worthiness of love is apparently contingent upon his or her ability to maintain sexual enticement in a pornography-ridden, airbrushed world, where something better (albeit artificial) never fails to come along and cause eyes to wander. You think you’re ready to marry somebody? You can’t say that unless you’ve taken them for a test drive and determined that they’re at least as good as your string of previous lovers.
Whether it’s the fear of being rejected, discarded, or even subjected to death by the darkest corners of the human heart, the world is a scary place. But it is this imperfect world that points me evermore to that which is perfect, to that which is good. To me, that is the love, the light and the Truth I see in the Gospel. That is the Truth I see in Jesus Christ and in the Father who offers redemption to a broken humanity. That is the Holy Spirit leading me on to a life lived with Love.
To be quite honest, a lot of times I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I question the purpose of it all. I wonder whether I’ve got it all wrong:
Is God really who I think He is?
Is there actually a God at all?
Why? What’s the point?
Most times, I wind up with more questions than answers. Yet—still I believe. I believe not because I’ve had some prolific vision or because I’ve deceived myself into thinking any claim is devoid of assumptions that are unverifiable. I believe because of the goodness I’ve seen looking through the eyes of Christ.
One analogy I’ve heard for this dark world we live in where it’s hard to make things out is that we’re essentially up out of bed, feeling our way around in the dark and moving about in the night. This life is hard, and oftentimes we’ll stub a toe. We’ll go on living our lives, taking things on faith, without knowing where we are or when the dawn will come (if ever). However, in the midst of this, there is One who makes all things clear. He is the Risen Son of Righteousness, who illuminates the world just as the risen sun.
The first chapter of John’s gospel says that Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness and “the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus is the Light! He’s not some flimsy flashlight, nor is He just the answer given by some self-help book. Jesus is the light that calls us out of the darkness. He casts it out completely and calls us to Life and Goodness. Just as the sun breaks across the eastern sky and light races across the ends of the earth in range, so does God’s righteousness flood the hearts of humanity through the Gospel.
C.S. Lewis once remarked on this phenomenon, writing, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but, because, by it, I see everything else.”
I haven’t seen Jesus face-to-face. I’ve never fallen down in a fit of visions like St. Paul did. But the eyes of my heart have been opened to the Truth, to the Goodness that underlies this life here on earth. Christ’s light has illuminated the darkness for me, and my soul finds rest in that. I need not certainty nor physical encounter to believe the Gospel truth. I don’t make a practice of staring at the sun, but I trust it’s there because it helps me to see all the glory of Creation.
I don’t always see Jesus standing there in front of me, but I can honestly say that it was only when I put my trust in Him that I began to see things as they were—that I began to see things in the Light. I now know what real love and beauty look like, and it’s only found in Christ Jesus, the Lord.
 John 1:5