Conquering the Abyss
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.”
Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)
I remember some time ago watching an interview on television with the actor Anthony Hopkins as the film ‘Silence of the Lambs’ was being premiered in 1991. He played the role of Hannibal Lecter, a violent, cannibalistic psychopath. The interviewer asked Hopkins how he managed to portray the role so accurately. Hopkins replied, “I came near to the abyss of insanity.” The thought struck me at the time—what price success? Collins dictionary gives the definition of an abyss as ‘a very deep or unfathomable gorge or chasm.’ Another definition states ‘anything that appears to be endless or immeasurably deep, such as time, despair or shame.’
There are times when we, like Hopkins, peer over the abyss and look into the cavernous black of despair. It seems endless, without light, without hope. It is as though you were standing on a great height looking down—the ground seems to rise up to pull you down. A cardinal rule of rock climbing is not to look down. Trials can do the same; submerging you into darkness and despair. Time can hang heavy, but the creator of time is also the Light of the world.
Jesus calls Himself the ‘Light of the world’. When the abyss beckons we need to yield to the Light of the world—Jesus Christ. He will rescue us from the threatening depths. His death has rescued mankind from the abyss of sin. John 1:4-5 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” When the darkness of a trial of life looms, focus on this divine and wonderful Light. This Light sustains and leads away from darkness.
In stormy seas sailors from ancient times have sought the light beaming from lighthouses warning them of the dark rocks that would cause them to founder. The analogy holds good for Christians: look to the Light of the world, keep your eye on Him. He will not let go, His own words declare it in John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Draw back from the wretched abyss that would destroy; walk in the wonderful liberating Light of God.
Father God, when the darkness threatens to engulf us, we know you are there holding a lantern of light and comfort. Thank you for your immeasurable love for us, the unworthy.
Study by Irene Wilson
About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council. Irene is facing a dark time right now as she buries her dear husband tomorrow. We are grateful to Irene for sharing her faith and courage even in the valley of death.
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