Mired in Distress and Gloom

Read: Isaiah 8:18-22

To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. (v. 20)

In the readings for today and tomorrow Isaiah introduces us to one of the most dramatic experiences one could ever have, a transformation from spiritual darkness to light. Today the focus is on darkness and gloom, its root cause and essential nature. Tomorrow the focus is on a transforming light.

Isaiah presents a basic issue: Where should one turn for guidance and direction when one experiences difficulty or discouragement, or is trying to find meaning in life? In Isaiah’s day some turned to mediums and necromancers, persons who seek guidance from the dead. In our day, we still seek guidance from sources that are not Godly, and you can probably name some of them. Isaiah’s answer is clear and unambiguous: “To the teaching and to the testimony!” That is, turn to a word from God, the true source of light.

For those who reject this word, distress and hunger only grow worse, and people may roam through the land as those who are lost. In frustration their anger may become so intense that when they look upward, they curse the king (the government) and God. When they turn toward the earth around them, they see only distress, darkness and gloom.

Is there any hope for persons in such desperate situations? Take heart! A light has dawned. —Gordon Van Wylen

As you pray, turn to God in your difficulties and gloom, taking heart in his light.

About the Author

Gordon Van Wylen served as the Dean of the Engineering School at the University of Michigan, and was the President Emeritus of Hope College. Dr. Van Wylen died in 2020.