You ever have one of those days that just feels dark? Maybe it's the weather, or a long to-do list after vacation, or just the flow of life, but yesterday felt like a dark day for me. It seemed that everywhere I looked, rather than being happy, or easy-going, or free, I found a reason to be down.
One thing I like so much about the minor prophets is how they seem to have shared my experience, but on a much grander scale. The prophet Zephaniah was speaking words on one of his dark days, and they sounded like this:
"What sorrow awaits rebellious, polluted Jerusalem,
the city of violence and crime!
No one can tell it anything;
it refuses all correction.
It does not trust in the Lord
or draw near to God.
Its leaders are like roaring lions hunting for their victims.
Its judges are like ravenous wolves at evening time;
who by dawn have left no trace of their prey.
Its prophets are arrogant liars seeking their own gain.
Its priests defile the Temple by disobeying God's instructions."
Zephaniah looks around his world and sees nothing but doom and gloom. It's a tough time for him and for the great city of Jerusalem. What hope could there be at a time like that?
But then a blinding ray of LIGHT:
"But the Lord is still there in the city, and He does no wrong." (3:1-5)
Did you catch that? In a rebellious, polluted city filled with vicious, man-eating leaders, corrupt judges, greedy prophets and dirty priests, God is still present. Even though the city is dark, God is still light and His light is still good. He did not abandon the situation because it had turned ugly; the ugliness actually brought forth His goodness that much more.
It makes me think of a line from the Lord of the Rings, Two Towers, when Frodo has lost all hope, but his friend Samwise is there to encourage him. About the dark around them, Samwise declares, "Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you."
When we are in the dark, God is still light, and He is still present with us. Darkness or evil does not make God run from us or abandon us; rather He remains in order to shine His light all the clearer into our lives.
I pray that whatever you experience today, you, like Zephaniah, will know that the Lord is still here in this city- in your world, in your home, in your life.
Journey in His light today-