In today’s world, you never know what you’ll wake up to. We’ve recently had a series of deadly natural disasters – the hurricanes that hit the Caribbean, the earthquakes that shook Mexico, the floods in Bangladesh…
But as I’m writing this, I’m thinking about some recent man-made disasters. Recently, for instance, we woke up to news that a region in Spain held a referendum for independence. The government declared the referendum illegal and violence broke out in the streets.
On Monday, we all awoke to news of the shooting in Las Vegas.
I don’t know about you, but I’m lost for words. These are just more examples of the darkness that is all around us – the darkness that is enveloping us.
Before these events, I was at a meeting where the YouVersion real-time global map of Scripture downloads and access was projected on a big screen (Click here to see it). It shows the whole world and every time someone opens a Bible text online, there’s a little light that comes on. You then see the country flag and the passage reference.
The way the YouVersion page is set up, everything is dark. Totally dark. And yet, all over the place, these little dots of light appear, blinking on and off again. The numbers are phenomenal. In the last three years, there have been something like 7.5 billion Biblica Bible verses shared on the internet. That’s the equivalent of every person in the world sharing a Bible verse.
It’s great to see Biblica have this kind of impact. But on the other side of it, you see how much darkness there is on that map versus how much light. You think, “My goodness! The darkness is almost overwhelming!”
And yet the promise of God is that His light will rise.
I was just reading the other day in the gospel of Luke a passage that is very relevant to this subject. It’s part of the song of Zechariah. Towards the end, he prophesies about Jesus:
“…Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
Simeon says something similar in Luke 2:
“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
In the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi wrote, “But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.”
Those verses really speak to me. They bring into sharp focus the fact that the world badly needs God’s light and hope. And for us, the way to bring that to people is to bring them the Word of God.
The world has had its fill of human ideas. Look at all the “ologies” and “isms” that have been foisted on the world – from communism, to socialism, to capitalism, to consumerism, to relativism, to fascism, to every other “ism” that has come – and we’re still stumbling around in the darkness. That’s because those are all flawed human ideas. What we need is something true, solid, and eternal that we can build on.
I know from my own experience as a family going through cancer that you have to have something eternal to grasp hold of. It’s all very well to get messages that say, “We’re thinking of you.” But what a difference it makes when people send you something from the Word of God that you can actually depend on and build your life on. It brings light and it brings hope in a way that nothing else can.
That’s what Biblica is doing: bringing the hope and the light of God’s Word to the world.
One example is our Reach4Life program. I heard a story of a guy who was in prison in South Africa. He saw the light while reading the Reach4Life New Testament and it changed his life. So he gets out of prison, but where does he go? He goes back to prison – to the people who are like he was, stumbling in the darkness. He knows what it’s like. He’s found the light, and he can’t keep it a secret. He’s got to go share that message.
I’ve been to South Africa. I’ve stood in the townships of Johannesburg and seen the darkness. I remember visiting a cemetery and seeing all the graves. All around were slagheaps from the gold mines. And someone pointed out, “Over there, they’re taking something really valuable out of the ground. Over here, in the cemetery, they’re putting something even more valuable into the ground.”
There are freshly dug graves in those cemeteries. Graves for infants that they know will soon be filled. They don’t wait until children die to dig the graves. They have them ready and waiting for them.
It’s a cycle of despair. They need the hope and light of God’s Word.
I also think of what we’re doing in India. Until recently, they wouldn’t let us into prisons. Thankfully, the ban was finally lifted and we were ready with packets containing basic toiletries and Scripture. We’re now giving inmates something for their physical needs, but also something spiritual that speaks into the darkness of where they are.
Stories like that, for me, serve to brighten up the darkness.
I firmly believe that when we put God’s Word into someone’s hands, it has the power to change everything. It contains the light and hope our dark world so desperately needs.
With God, all things are possible.
He has been Chief Ministry Officer with Biblica since the end of 2015, having previously served as Area Executive Director for Europe. As CMO, he is responsible for overseeing the work of Biblica in its seven global areas, as well as leading the translation, publishing, and Bible engagement work of the organization.