“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Christian poet Luci Shaw asks, “Have you had your attacks of agnosticism, of not being sure of anything, of feeling lost in thick darkness? I have. I’m convinced that those who have never experienced this nadir of unbelief are out of touch with reality. God’s larger purposes are sometimes too large for our sin-blinded, pain-blinkered eyes to accept.” She shares a story that Henri Nouwen once told about twins waiting like seeds in the darkness of the mother’s womb. They feel quite at home there and wonder about what’s ahead for them. “Have you heard?” one asks. “Someday soon we’ll push into the light, and there’ll be this thing called a mother. We’ll see her face.” Shaw says, “Our irresistible urge toward growth and freedom pulls us, like the push of a fetus toward birth, into eternity, when we can see God face-to-face, where we’ll know and be known. And the long wait in the dark will make the sighting more splendid.” We now see “through a glass, darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). The analogy of our being in the womb of God—as babes and not-yet babes—sparks hopes of illumination far beyond our earthbound imaginations. Our doubts and our darkness will disappear in the sudden light of God’s glory. So, we move toward the light, with blurred vision, but knowing enough of God’s love and the sacrifice of His Son that we can walk in the Spirit. God tells us not to be afraid, for he is here with us in our darkness. Luci Shaw describes a germinated seed pushing up: “Think for a moment, of its single-mindedness. All its juicy energy is channeled into launching its way up through the loam to the light. It “knows” it’s task is to reach the light. That it is destined for resurrection after its long burial—that to arrive in the light will mean life and health and fruitfulness.” She quotes John Polkinghorne (an English theoretical physicist, theologian, writer and Anglican priest): “Faith is not a leap in the dark, but into the light.”

Adapted from “The One Year Book of Encouragement”