Watching the late night news or reading posts on social media about wars, killings, calamities, and politics, are two of the most stressful things people can do nowadays.

On top of these things, many people, especially students, have to deal with other forms of darkness–in their hearts. Recently, we’ve seen posts of superimposed semicolons flooding the web to raise awareness and to show support to people battling depression.

Recent studies show that there has been a significant spike in the number of young people who experience major depressive episodes. This may be from various reasons — either from shame, insecurity, extreme pressure, anxiety, or cyberbullying. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability around the world, and over 300 million people worldwide are suffering from it. Depression, when not addressed, may lead to suicide.

There’s no denying it: The world we live in is getting darker. And as the world around us turns this way, the light inside the human heart grows dimmer by the day.

As Christians, how do we keep our lights shining when all other lights go out?

On our own, we can’t. But there’s good news: Jesus presents himself as the light of the world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is the light of the world. There’s no substitute for Him.

The world has no other source of light than Him. Without Jesus, the world will be in utter darkness. In fact, the reason why there’s so much corruption, greed, and violence around us is because the light of the gospel has not yet penetrated all areas of society. The same is true with the human heart: darkness has no place in our lives when the light of Jesus shines on us.

The purposes of light

Light exposes what darkness hides. The hidden sins that entangle, the lies that pull us down, the very things that hurt us — the light of Jesus brings them to our attention, not to shame us, but to heal us. Let us not be afraid, this is good for us.

Have you ever felt hopeless and spiritually weak? Have you ever been in that moment when all you can see and feel is the overwhelming darkness in your soul? If you’ve been there, you would know what I’m saying. If you ever find yourself in that place again, know that you can call on God for help. Be honest and vulnerable. He understands us even when we don’t understand ourselves. He understands us even when we’re too weak to express in words what we’re going through. Jesus did not just enter our dark world; He entered to bring light.

Just pray to God and ask Him to show you what He is working on in your life. When He opens your eyes to His will, He will also give you the strength that you need. As you turn to Him for strength, let His light dispel the darkness in your heart.”

Another thing that light does is that it reveals the beauty that darkness hides. Jesus’ light opens our eyes to the beauty of life that God offers to His children.

Jesus’ light exposes the depth of our human sinfulness, yet it reveals the greatness of His grace that creates beauty out of our brokenness. Jesus’ light may come in the form of emotional healing, restoration of identity, rediscovery of one’s purpose in life, mending of relationships, or simply being able to stand up and finding grace to fight.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2)

This prophecy by Isaiah pertains to Jesus starting His ministry in Galilee, the land of Naphtali and Zebulun, also known as “the valley of the shadow of death.” In ancient times, this land was constantly ravaged by war as enemy nations invaded Israel.

It is no coincidence that God purposed for Jesus to rise from this “land of deep darkness.” His message is clear: no darkness is strong enough to overwhelm the light of Jesus. He is powerful enough to bring light into the hopeless parts of your life — whether it’s your family, your grades, a painful past, or a shameful experience.

In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)

When all the lights in your life have gone out, you can be sure that the light of Jesus never will.

The purpose of the light in us

But prepare because as God’s light dispels the darkness within your soul, he will definitely call you to fight the darkness in society and bring the same light you experienced out into the world. After all, what good is your light if it cannot shine in the dark?

Our ability to shine our light is largely dependent on how much we experience and reflect the light of Christ in our lives. The more we have of him, the more we reflect his light, the more we can be an instrument to course God’s hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak.

And we should be moved because people in the dark are hurting. They step on each other’s feet because they can’t see. They bump against each other for a lack of light. They wouldn’t know the right way to go in pitch black darkness. We can’t expect them to find their way out of that without The Ultimate Light. But someone has to come and bring that to them. Hopefully we can be that person when the time comes, and when God calls us to it. To bring them the light of Jesus, that enables them to see shalom and salvation so clearly, and there is no other way but through Him.