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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Light at the End of the Tunnel (01/23/14)

TITLE: The Darkness
By Linda Rogers


So many long nights. So broken. The pain never ends. Can things ever be fixed? I cry for understanding. I’ve clung to hopeless possibilities that deceived my heart. How can I keep going? That well-meant advice pierces me deeply in this utterly exhausting place. No one understands my sadness.
Tragically, that is where my enemy wants me to be. He’ll do whatever he can to keep me here, tightly bound in that sense of hopelessness. He doesn’t want me to see the light. Instead, he delights in my suffering. His ultimate goal is my total destruction, death itself. He’s the epitome of evil, the absolute enemy of all that is good. Ephesians 6:12 says: “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” He is truly the enemy and since my youth has used many cruel devices to plummet me into such depression and utter despair.
But fear not my broken heart! John 1:5 says: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In Micah 7:8, the prophet wrote: “when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.” God’s word is true! Nature itself, in the diurnal cycles of day following night, reminds me that light will always push away the darkness. It is a beautiful message of hope from above.
Anna lived in gloom for a long time. She was a descendant of the tribe of Asher, 8th son of Jacob. Asher went to Egypt with his father Jacob during the great famine. Eventually they were led out of Egypt by Moses. Later, the Asherites followed Joshua into the Promised Land. But sadly, they didn’t fully obey God’s commands during the land conquest. Although sometimes faithful, their tribe had slowly disobeyed the Lord through every new generation and had strayed further from God. As punishment, the Northern tribes were overcome by the Assyrian army, and were exiled to the faraway land of the Medes. Utter darkness fell upon Asher for seven centuries.
Darkness is the absence of light, and can be either physical, emotional or spiritual. Spiritual gloom overwhelmed the exiled Asherites, who longed to feel the favor of the Lord again. They yearned for the Light of His holiness. They desired redemption. At the time of Jesus’ birth the name of Anna, meaning “favor”, was uncommon in Jerusalem. Yet, there she was in the nativity story, an old prophetess of Asher named Anna. Widowed young, and wounded emotionally, still she’d served continually for decades in the holy temple. Her father’s name, Phanuel, meant “ holy face of God”. While Rome scourged Israel, the nation waited for that promised redemption. God’s face was the only light that could truly overcome the darkness. Asher had longed for God’s favor during generations of slavery, exile and bitter suffering.
Then John announced that the Kingdom of God was near. Thus many Israelites were watching for the Messiah to arrive. Anna was one who believed God’s promise “… the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78, 79) That fragile, withered woman beheld the face of Baby Jesus at His consecration in Jerusalem, and immediately recognized Him as the Savior of Israel, beautiful Light of the world. Her reaction was to share the blessed significance of Jesus to all around her, offering them the glorious hope of redemption.
Father in Heaven, when I find myself caught up in that overwhelming sense of dread and sadness… remind me of my Hope! Protect me from the schemes of my enemy who brings darkness to my mind and heart, and has crippled me in the past. Please show me the light Father! Let Jesus touch me with his words “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Before the first evening returns back as a new day dawning, let me remember your promise to help me “turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God,” (Acts 26:18) Like Anna of Asher, I want to proclaim that You’re the Light at the end of my tunnel! “…the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28)


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Member Comments
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Larry Whittington02/01/14
One thing I noticed on the content side was the 70 centuries mentioned. The length of the exil was the 70 years while the time spent in Egypt was the 400 years.

For me, it seemed to have "extra information" that slowed the reading. The information, though, seemed correct as related to the tribe.

Maybe it needed more spacing as I read it. Maybe shorter paragraphs.
Judy Sauer 02/01/14
To make your story easier to read, add hard returns to make paragraphs stand separately from each other. Also, when quoting scripture, include the translation such as Matthew 7:7 NIV

The use of segues makes it easier for readers to recognize when you transition from teaching to the story. You wrote: "a beautiful message of hope from above. Anna lived in gloom for a long time." A simple shift might be "to illustrate hope from above, consider Anna. Anna lived in gloom for a long time.

The same is true from going from the story to teaching. Another opportunity is when your story reads: "darkness fell upon Asher for seven centuries. Darkness is the absence of light." A seque such as ...Asher for seven centuries. What is darkness? It is the absence of light...

Your beautiful prayer at the end gets lost in how the text transmitted.

You have much to add. Keep it up.
C D Swanson 02/04/14
You've managed to pack so much info into this entry. Thank you for your beautiful peaceful prayer at the end.

God bless~