Ouch!

“God is light; in him there is no darkness at all … and if we walk in the light, as he is in the light … the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin”

1 John 1:5, 7

In the early eighties I was one of three teachers who accompanied a group of grade ten students for a week of leadership training in a remote wilderness area on the Botswana border. On the first night the students ignored the 10:00 p.m. curfew and by midnight the teachers were fed up.

It was time for action. Putting our heads together we came up with what we thought was a wonderful plan to restore law and order, and hopefully get some sleep. It was pitch black, but, armed with a stout stick and a thick pillow we groped our way over to the boys’ tents. Then one of us said to an imaginary student, “Get out of your tent! … I’ve had enough of this nonsense! … You’re going to get the lashing of your life!”

That got their attention. There was a deathly quiet. Meanwhile another teacher held up the pillow while the first teacher hissed for the imaginary boy to “Bend down!” Now it was my turn to enter into the drama. Swinging the stick through the air, I struck the pillow with a resounding thwack. A sharp yell of pain was enacted and then the first teacher commanded the imaginary boy to “Bend once more!”

Once again I swung the stick. But I lost sight of the pillow in the darkness and hit the second teacher across the top of his legs! This time there was a duller thwack and a sharp intake of breath followed by a painful moan.

The first teacher was oblivious to what had happened, although suitably impressed with the acting, and closed the drama with a final comment saying, “Well I hope you’ve learnt your lesson!”

It came as no surprise that the students were soon asleep. But the teachers lay awake all night. We couldn’t sleep because of our colleague’s groans!

Yes, things can go wrong when you’re in the dark. Yet many people go through life walking “about in darkness” Psalm 82:5. They “do not know where (they are) going” John 12:35. They “walk in dark ways” and their path is often “dark and slippery” Proverbs 2:13; Psalm 35:6.

But God has a gracious invitation for such people. He says, “By him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible … all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:16-17. For “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all … and if we walk in the light, as he is in the light … the blood of Jesus his Son, purifies us from all sin” 1 John 1:5, 7.

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