A few weeks ago — back in those glorious days when we weren’t shackled to the confines of our homes — Pastor Tom issued a challenge to the VPC congregation: At some point during the week, if there was some sort of trial that we were forced to deal with, we were supposed to respond to that trial by singing out loud and worshipping God wherever we were at the time.
This stung the cynical side of my heart: I was sure Tom was speaking directly to me, a self-proclaimed introvert, and that I would be pressured into foregoing my pride and sing a hymn at the top of my lungs at my local Target or some restaurant.
But little did Tom know — or anyone else for that matter — that his challenge would actually morph into a lifeline.
That’s because whatever battles we were facing in our own lives were quickly dwarfed by crashing markets and layoffs. By travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders. By barren grocery store shelves and bleak news headlines.
We now find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, and from the most minor inconveniences to the claiming of thousands of lives, its tendrils have seemingly wrapped themselves around everyone across the planet. It’s thrown our society into a vortex of chaos, and while I believe “this too shall pass,” there’s a darkness that’s taken up residence in our skies.
But thankfully, we serve a God who is not subservient to chaos and darkness. In Genesis 1:2, it says how “darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” To me, this “darkness over the surface of the deep” is chaos in its purest form. Imagine: no planets, no stars, no sky, no point of reference. Just an ongoing, never-ending void of confusion and disorder.
Yet somehow God confronts chaos, wrestles it to the ground and brings order to the universe with four simple words: “Let there be light.”
I think the first few lines Hillsong Worship’s episodic song, “So Will I (100 Billion X),” does a great job of encapsulating this moment in history:
“God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light”
We serve a God who has already defeated darkness and overcome chaos. A global pandemic is no match for Him.
So what can we do in the midst of this chaos and darkness? We need to continue to take up Tom’s challenge: We need to lift up our voices and worship. And not just because it’s our duty as Christians or because He is worthy of it, but so that we can be sparks of light for the world to see.
Sonoluminescence, which is actually just a fancy way of saying sound that’s capable of producing light, is a phenomenon that’s puzzled physicists for nearly 100 years. It involves a relatively simple experiment in which intense sound waves in water are created, which in turn produce air bubbles that inexplicably emit flashes of light.
To this day, it remains a mystery as to how the sounds can generate light.
No darkness, regardless of shape or form, can withstand His light. If enough of us continue to sing through these dark days, I believe it’s ever bright beyond this black.