Post Tenebras, Lux

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Fight The Good Fight"1 (Lyrics)

In 1972, while studying at Montpellier in the south of France, I played tourist one weekend and went exploring the countryside farther east. On that trip, I discovered the ruins of an old town, perched high on a rocky promontory. During the 16th century, Les-Baux-de-Provence had been a Huguenot stronghold in Catholic France. Standing before the remains of the Protestant church, I read the Latin inscription carved into the rock lintel above the empty window: Post Tenebras, Lux — "After the Shadows, Light".

While the purpose of the inscription had probably been to declare that the "light" of Reformed theology had brought the world from the "shadows" or "darkness" of the Catholicism of the day, those words and that scene came vividly to my mind a few days ago as I walked our country road. Recently, I have been living in "shadows", battling old thoughts and feelings brought on by a number of present circumstances in my life. Forty years ago, these same feelings had pushed me close to the brink of suicide. I did not welcome their return.

While I walked, I had been praying, and against the darkness of those feelings — and my inability to use my own strength and determination to escape or ignore them — quietly came words from God, as He broke through the shadows and spoke into my life:

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (NIV)

Then, the words of a hymn that I cherish formed in my mind:

    Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
    There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
           Thomas Obadiah Chisholm

Out of the shadows indeed came light — the light of God's incredible, persistent love for me. The Lord spoke in a similar way to the apostle Paul:

2 Corinthians 12:9 – But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." (NIV)

If, after all, I could wrestle my feelings to the ground by my own strength, I would not need God. But I am weak, and by His grace, I do know Him and His love, embodied literally in Jesus, my Saviour. In the midst of my despair, He gave peace; from turmoil came quiet; out of the shadows, I walked into His light. My circumstances haven't changed, but I don't walk alone.

If you are struggling with feelings, circumstances, and shadows today, my heart goes out to you. Reach out to Jesus — let Him walk with you through your valley. "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for walking with us even and especially through our dark times. Even though it is then often hard to sense Your presence, by faith, we know that You are there. Thank You for such love. Amen.

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About the author:

Don Lipsett <>
100 Mile House, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good word Don. God bless.

    Thank you so much for this devotional.

    God’s got your old thoughts and feelings and your current circumstances in His hands. And, you are good to go!

    Dear Don: Thank you for the very touching and beautiful devotional that you wrote for us today. “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You.” Blessings.

    Thank you for your witness to the Lord’s presence in your life. Praising God that the light of Christ pierces our darkest days to light up our lives. Blessings.

    “Great is Thy Faithfulness” answers many needs for me, Don. Thank you for your devotional reminding us of God’s eternal presence.

    Thank you for your very personal, thoughtful and inspiring devotional. The light does shine in the darkness, and the darkness can never overcome it!

    Dear Don:
    Thank you for sharing your story and how God’s love is always with you. I truly believe this too for He has saved me from despair. May God’s name be praised forever! Amen.

    Read your Devotional with some concern. It sounds as though you may be temporarily walking “in the shadows”. I know that your faith is great and I pray that this burden will soon be lifted.
    Your faith was always an inspiration to me.

    Hi Don,
    Thanks for showing us so eloquently how God’s presence in our darkness will open our eyes for the return of the light.
    God bless.

    Dear Don, thank you for your devotional. I empathize with your struggle, but have not first hand experience with this type of darkness. My late husband struggled terribly with depression. Please know that God is with you throughout all the light and dark times. May he lead you to treatment that will turn you back towards the light. God Bless you.

    Thank you Don for sharing your inner self, with the feelings that can drive us to despair in our living of life.
    I too came to the feeling of despair and would have gladly ended life. “But God” What a wonderful conjunction.
    God brought me face to face with His Grace that was sufficient for me. His Love was poured out upon me and I know with assurance, that He who has begun a good work in me will preform it until He takes me to my final home. Forever to be with Him.
    Again thank you!!!

    Good morning!
    I loved your devotional for today and was reminded how as a small child during the war years sharing a home in a rural “pub” I could occasionally escape from all the other children. As the smallest and youngest was not easy.
    The first time I looked up to the sky and realized that it was the clouds coming in front of the sun that sent shadows, it was a revelation. The colours of the fields would be so different until clouds had passed and true shades were revealed.
    In later life the verse of how Jesus does not change like the shifting shadows. Wow that meant so much to me.
    Thank you.

    Thanks for your thoughtful communication Don. Very precious. Blessings.

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