Hope in Dark Places

Isaiah 53

I love music! Choral music, instrumental music, popular music, classical music . . . folk tunes, ballads, country western and bluegrass . . . the patriotic and romantic. For me, music is a must.

Like you, I have my favorite hymns—the ones that hold some special meaning for me or evoke grand and vivid memories of significant events. Invariably, those things pass in mental review as I become “lost in wonder, love, and praise” in my worship.

While thinking of the glorious message of the Resurrection recently, I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with the music that has accompanied the celebration of the empty tomb for centuries. Various scenes crossed my mind. I saw myself as a lad holding my mother’s hand in a little Baptist church in South Texas. I remembered a sunrise service on the island of Okinawa when I fought back tears of loneliness. Another hymn took me to Chafer Chapel on the campus of Dallas [Theological] Seminary, where 350 young men preparing for ministry stood side by side and sang heartily of the Savior we’d soon be proclaiming.

During my nostalgic pilgrimage, at each geographical spot revisited, I gave God thanks that Job’s words were mine as well: “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25 KJV).

Gloria Gaither’s familiar lyrics then brought me into the seventies: “And because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone.” It is Jesus Christ—the miraculously resurrected Son of God—who remains the Object of our worship, the Subject of our praise.

That hope has kept believers strong in the darkest places.

“Thus far did I come, burdened with my sin. Nor could ought ease the grief that I was in ’til I came hither. What a place is this! Must here be the beginning of my bliss? Must here the burden fall off my back? Must here the chains that bound it to me crack? Blest cross! Blest sepulchre! Blest rather be, the Man who was put to shame for me” (John Bunyan).

Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. www.thomasnelson.com

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.