The 40 days of Lent is one of the most important seasons of the Church. Through prayer, repentance and self-denial, Christians walk out of darkness into light, preparing ourselves to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with indescribable joy.
Isaiah prophesied that the light of the glory of the Lord has arisen upon us, and he called his people who were in exile to prepare to leave the darkness of oppression and begin to live in the freedom of light.
Let us pray during this season to be free from one of the greatest hindrances to living a joyful Christian life: anxiety. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Anxiety is more than just worry, or concern, or discontent. The Germans express it as angst, and in Korea, han is the nearest equivalent. Darkness, and the fear that arises from it, is what Peter meant by “anxiety.” When God delivered Israel from Eqypt, He sent great darkness that covered the whole land; the people even “felt” the darkness. But there was great light for God’s people.
Perhaps one reason the disciples were arguing on the steps leading up to the Upper Room where they were to share their last meal with Jesus, was their anxiety that came out of the darkness of sin that remained in them. Perhaps the reason for disunity, quarreling, criticism and anger among Christians today is the darkness of anxiety that has not been dealt with by God’s people.
The darkness of anxiety separates people from another; it isolates us and causes deep loneliness. We are imprisoned, bound by this anxiety, causing a breakdown in communication that produces great fear in our lives.
This darkness, or anxiety, develops in three stages: first, people wonder at its magnitude; it is vast, and it covers the whole world. Second, we are bewildered at its destructive power; it dehumanizes people. Finally, this darkness, or anxiety, envelops people in great fear and dread, because it is unintelligible; it is impossible to know what will happen.
Satan is the author of darkness. He is the one who produces anxiety and fears among God’s people. He works through wicked people, and the wicked always try to evade, or overcome, the light of God. But the light shines in darkness, and evil powers cannot overcome it.
Today this anxiety of darkness and fear has overtaken nations throughout the world. It has overtaken not only North Korea, Iraq or Saudia Arabia, but also parts of South Korea, of America, and most nations of the world.
We as Christians can minister to people bound by the darkness of anxiety only when we ourselves are freed from anxiety and from all fears. The good news is that Jesus triumphed over Satan’s powers of darkness and fears. Anxiety is one of the principalities and powers of darkness that Jesus Christ defeated on the cross. The prophet Isaiah reports that kings and world rulers were shocked at the appearance of Jesus on the cross, so much so that his appearance was marred more than any human being. This was actually Jesus taking all the anxiety of the world upon Himself, that we might have peace.
Let us examine ourselves during this Lenten season, and let us fully receive the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and be completely rid of the anxiety that is caused by the darkness of sin within us. We will become free to walk away from all darkness, anxiety and from all fears. Let us say “YES!” to the Holy Spirit as He comes to cleanse and renew us during this important time before Resurrection Sunday so that we may walk away as blameless children of God who shine as lights in the world.