At this moment, professed Ayahuasca-guzzling (it can induce psychedelic effects, but is not against NFL protocols) Aaron Rodgers is taking part in a four-day “darkness retreat.” He is participating in “a little self-reflection in some isolation, and then after that I feel like I’ll be a lot closer to a final, final decision” regarding whether or not he will play for the Green Bay Packers next year AND whether or not he will retire AND whatever else is on his mind (which he will inevitably share with the world).
Personal opinion: We need a Rodgers-free retreat, a week, a month, a year without all of his drama.
Have you ever been left alone with nothing but the darkness of your own thoughts? Did such activity offer positive clarity or was it a terrifying exercise? My vote is for terrifying, horrifying, and dreadful.
After Satan brought darkness into the world in the Garden of Eden, there was so much darkness. More every day, more every generation. Evil, wickedness, sin, the unspeakable things that men and women think and say and do in the darkness of spiritual night. Satan himself is called the “prince of darkness.” Hell is described as the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth without end.
There still is darkness – darkness inside of us by way of a sinful nature. Darkness outside of us by way of a wicked world and a scheming Satan. Often this darkness shows itself in just plain dumbness and stupidity. The darkness inside of us manifests itself in other, darker ways. Greed. Deceit. Fear. Envy. Pride. The darkness of sin causes us to stumble, to hurt others, to hurt ourselves, to seek to make decisions apart from God’s direction, guidance, love and care and then blame God when things don’t work out the way we planned.
There is stunning darkness in our world. Racism. War. Genocide. Chemical warfare. Kidnapping, sex abuse, murder, mistreatment and neglect of children. Loveless marriages. Homes without hope or help. Families sacrificed on the altars of shiny but empty gods like success, status, and self.
Think I’m overstating the threat of the darkness of that lives in your heart and in mine? “The heart is more deceitful than anything. It is beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) “The Lord saw that the wickedness of mankind was great on the earth, and that all the thoughts and plans they formed in their hearts were only evil every day.” (Genesis 6:5)
The darkness of sin may be an old and constant companion, but it is not a friend.
At creation God said, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) And Jesus says to his people, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) because he, the Light of the World (John 8:12) has drawn us to himself Paul writes, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (Eph 5:8) With eyes fixed on Jesus, we encourage one another with Isaiah’s words, “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (2:5) With eyes fixed on Jesus, we recognize “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) “The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1) “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:28)
There is still so much darkness – the word appears more than 200 times in the Bible. Light appears a few more times, around 270 depending on the translation. But Light wins, hands down. Remember how the Bible began – darkness covered everything. How does the Bible end? It tells us how everything will come to an end and then remain forever. “The city (heaven) does not need the sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21:23). “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.” (Revelation 22:5)
Darkness retreat? No thanks! May the Lord lead us to walk in the light of his Son!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand