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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Larsen

The People Who Walk in Darkness Will See a Great Light

Updated: Apr 24


Life can be hard.

As we humans look back over the phases of our lives, we can identify those times that were bright, sunny, happy: 

·        Riding a bike as a child with the breeze blowing your hair behind you

·        Waiting for the perfect wave in the ocean, then climbing onto your boogie board and screeching happily as it transports you quickly to shore

·        Your first kiss with the person who will eventually be the love of your life

·        Taking your newborn child home from the hospital, knowing that your life will change in drastic ways, but looking forward to this milestone of life

·        Landing the job you’d spent years preparing for, knowing it will make a huge difference in family’s lives because of its challenges and opportunities.

But for every happy, sunny circumstance, there can also be darkness.  While on that exciting bike ride, you could run over a pothole and fall, scraping your knees or breaking a bone.  That perfect wave could throw you under the salty water, head over heels, scraping you on the bottom and filling your sinus cavities with salty water.

You get the idea.  There’s light and there's darkness.

We want to be in the light.  We know that darkness will sometimes enter our days, but we also have faith that eventually the sun will come up and we will be walking in the light again. 

In Isaiah 9, one of the Old Testament’s most prolific prophets to the Jewish people wrote, “The people walking in the darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest.” (Isaiah 9:2-3a)

When I read this text, I immediately wonder, how??  Don’t you? This section paints a powerful illustration of people walking in the darkness, but the sun has finally risen. I’m sure the ancient Jews wondered how? as well. Their lives, as described in the Old Testament, were never easy, lacking so many of the modern luxuries we enjoy now.

The answer to our question is given starting in verse 6 in this very famous text:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end. (Isaiah 9: 6-7a)

Jesus!  The prophesied Savior is the answer! He will be the great light given to the people walking in darkness.

I find this simple truth to be valid in my own life. When I am sad or depressed or stressed out or dejected by any number of life’s challenges, I almost subconsciously seek out the light, Jesus.  I go to a quiet place where I can be in his presence: the beach or the woods, or even just a quiet room in my house and shut the door.  I close my eyes and push all that dark stuff out of my mind. I breathe in and out. I calm my racing heart and mind, and I focus on my Heavenly Father. 

Then I speak to him.  Out loud is best.  I start with all those things that I am thankful for. “Thank you, God for my health, for my husband, for my sons, for my …” on and on and on.  Because no matter how dark the circumstances are in our lives, there is always something to be thankful for.  Draw your attention away from the bad things, which granted, are real, true things.  They’ll be there when you’re done. But for right now, let’s focus instead on what is good.

Then I ask him to watch over me as I deal with whatever issue or problem is causing me this darkness.  What would he have me do? What is his guidance? How should I handle it?  Regardless of how open I think I am to his answer, I don’t get a booming response from the heavens at that moment. But by asking in this way, I’ve opened a portal in my heart to receive an answer when he sees fit to provide it.  Most likely, the answer will come to me when I’m doing something else – worshipping him, listening to music, talking to a friend, reading the Bible, walking.  The answer will come because I’ve asked him and he’s always faithful to respond.

But for now, I move on to worshipping him.  First thanking him, then asking him for help, then worshipping him.  Because I understand how great he is, how awe-inspiring, and he deserves our praise. Maybe I’ll recite some meaningful song lyrics or Bible verses that I’ve memorized, or maybe I’ll sing one of my favorite praise songs.  It doesn’t matter.  He gets it.

And when I rise from this session, the light has begun to dawn on the darkness. Sure, the problem that sent me there hasn’t gone away; it’s still there. But by handing it over to God for his handling, it takes the pressure off me. And the next time I find myself in the midst of a dark problem again (as I will be, inevitably) I remember what it feels like to be in the light. And I grasp it to my chest.

That’s a little look at how I personally deal with times of trouble in my own life. I welcome you to try it in yours. Let me know how you make out.

Before I close this devotion, I wanted to touch briefly on someone else who was inspired by this section of Isaiah. Did the lyrics sound familiar to you?  Maybe you hear them twice a year, at Christmas and Easter?

Yes, it’s Handel’s Messiah!

The German composer Georg Frideric Handel became a naturalized British citizen in 1727. He became well respected and honored for his composing skills. He received a pension from the court of King George II, he held the office of Composer of Music for the Chapel Royal, and he’d even had a statue erected in his honor in the Vauxhall Gardens, something almost unheard of for a living person. His long list of music compositions was impressive of course. Although by the early 1730s, public appreciation for the opera format was beginning to fade, Handel remained committed to the genre.

In 1741 he was inspired by a communication from a wealthy landowner Charles Jennens to write a substantial composition using the Isaiah 9 text as its base.  Wikipedia states, “The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. Having received Jennens's text some time after 10 July 1741, Handel began work on it on 22 August. His records show that he had completed Part I in outline by 28 August, Part II by 6 September and Part III by 12 September, followed by two days of "filling up" to produce the finished work on 14 September.”

Amazing!  And I’m willing to bet that every reader of this blog has heard a performance of Handel’s Messiah sometime in your life, now in the 21st century!  It truly became the masterpiece of an already masterful composer.  My dad, a long-time bass singer, has a tattered book containing the complete score of the Messiah that he acquired while he was singing the composition in college in the 1950’s.  He brings it along every year when he attends an offering of “Sing-along Messiah” at a local church or university. 

I sang the Hallelujah Chorus section of the Messiah in my college choir, where I sang the alto part, and I also sang it later in a church choir where I was a soprano. So, I’m familiar with both female parts, and often combine my favorite parts when singing along.

Jesus is the great light for those people walking in the darkness.  The next time you find yourself in the darkness, try some of the practices in this post to find the light.


Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for providing light in the darkness.  Thank you for being available to us so that we can talk to you about our problems, thank you for our blessings and worship you for your greatness. Amen.

And, for your listening pleasure: 


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Feb 22

Thank you for the devotional and the music!

Laurie Larsen
Laurie Larsen
Feb 22
Replying to

You’re so welcome!


Feb 21

Incredible that Handel wrote that in 24 days?!?!

Laurie Larsen
Laurie Larsen
Feb 21
Replying to

Incredible! What a talent!

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