I have come as a light into the world so that everyone who believes in me won’t live in darkness. — John 12:46
Kate Bowler is a professor at Duke University and wrote a book titled, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. She described being in stage four colon cancer and facing a prognosis of having only a few months to live, if that. As she progressed down this path, she discovered that most people related to her in one of three ways.
There were the Minimizers. “Death is just another phase of life, leading to a new journey.” Yeah, well, are you ready to go on your journey, if you’re so certain this leads to a better place? she replied.
There were the Teachers. “Suffering is a teacher for you. What are you learning?” I’m learning I don’t want to learn anything from this, she replied.
There were the Solutions people. “Have you tried this nutrition routine? Have you tried to smile more and have a more positive outlook?” There’s nothing I can do to save myself, she replied.
The one thing all three of these types have in common is this: they walk with Kate only so far. It’s as if she’s about to enter a cave, one that is dark, scary, and filled with unknowns. She turns to them. “Coming?” “Oh no,” they reply. “It’s too scary for us. Just listen to our advice, and you’ll be fine.”
No one wants to go into that cave alone. No one wants to walk down the path of things like stage 4 cancer. No one…but Jesus. He’s already been there. That’s the message of the cross in all its terror and starkness. It’s him saying, “Whenever you’re ready, I’ll go with you.”
And that’s what we need to broadcast about the church. We are a bunch of people who aren’t afraid to go into caves with each other, having faith that their way will be lit by someone who’s already been there. The Light of the world.