A2 Devotional • December 3, 2010
by Gary Bauman
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
—Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)
"Ukemasu!" Hideko says to me after Bible study one day. "I'll receive it!" In Japanese, often you’re expected to know the topic of the sentence without it actually being said.
I'm fairly sure I know what she means, but I repeat the word with a question in my voice just to make sure. "Ukemasu?"
"Yes!" she replies. "I'll receive it! Baptism!"
Even though Hideko and her husband have been studying the Bible with me practically every week for months, Katsu hasn't taken the step of faith yet. Hideko has been waiting patiently ever since she received Christ a couple of years ago, but she can’t wait any longer. She’s decided she wants to be baptized, and the sooner the better!
The weeks pass quickly, and now it’s Saturday. Tomorrow is the big day! As an added bonus, God has miraculously arranged the arrival of two of Hideko’s friends from America, the couple who first introduced her to the teachings of God’s Word. They've suddenly arrived in Tokyo to take care of some business, without even knowing Hideko's baptism plans. In the past she had mentioned it would be nice if they could share this special day with her, and now in God's perfect timing, here they are!
But there's a problem. This evening a raging thunderstorm has plunged the Tokyo area into a tempest of broken branches and flying umbrellas. We don't have a church building and Hideko's baptism has been planned for a local river. We question whether we should venture out in such weather. Despite the arrival of Hideko's friends, should we postpone? Can we come up with an alternate plan? We don’t want to disappoint Hideko. She's already waited so long for this day! Finally, we entrust it all to God in prayer and determine to go ahead with it somehow.
We fall asleep to the pounding of the rain on the roof tiles in the blustery darkness . . . and wake up to cloudless blue skies and the dazzling light of the rising sun.
Darkness and light. God uses this imagery throughout Scripture. Our opening verse from the Book of Isaiah is often quoted during the Christmas season. It points to the coming of the Christ Child, who announced when he reached adulthood, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" John 8:12 (ESV).
On Hideko's special weekend, God has graphically reminded us once again of the transformation that takes place when darkness is overcome by light.
"Father, thank you for sending your Light into the world to show us the way. Help me be a light to those walking in darkness all around me today. Amen."
Strategic Resource Development
Editor, Japan Harvest magazine
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