Hope in the Darkness

Hope in the Darkness

As he wrote, produced, played, and sang the song, Roger Bennett was sick with leukemia. He was dying and he knew it. Roger never allowed his fate to stop him from writing, producing, playing, singing, and sharing his music about his faith in God. I am thankful for the example. Roger Bennett is my cousin. He is no longer with us in this world, but I look forward to the day that he will sing again, with me and the myriads of saints in heaven!

As people we never tire of seeing resiliency. It encourages us, inspires us, pushes us, and motivates us. To see so many endure massive life trials, troubles, storms, and struggles is a comfort to those of us who share the same hope. What is this hope in? Our hope of our citizenship in the kingdom of God, our victory in Christ, our life in the Spirit, our salvation from the Father. The hope we have in knowing that this world is not our home! It truly is a blessing to have this hope.

You see, I don't care so much about looking back and trying to recreate the "golden days" because I can look forward to my entrance into the golden gates! Still, this life can fill us with dread, fear, and hurt. And if we are all honest, this can cloud our vision, making it difficult to view our home past the clouds. As worry fills our worship fades and our fears invade as our hope evades. Roger's song reminds me that we don't have to be "concerned about the way it's gonna end" because as he so brilliantly states, "I've read the back of the book and we win!"

The song's chorus says, "I've read the back of the book and we win. No more livin' in darkness, we'll be livin' in hope of HIM. You see there's no need to worry about it if you're born again. I've read the back of the book and we win!" Do you believe that? Does it convict you? Does it give you comfort, peace, hope, assurance? Last Sunday, we studied how the whole armor of God helps us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil as we stand in the strength of the Lord (Eph 6:10-20). In that sermon, I shared that we can all stand confidently knowing that no matter what battle we face in this life we can rest assured knowing that God wins, and those who belong to God will share in that victory. As an illustration, I shared the lyrics of this song with everyone, and many of you requested to hear it or even learn to sing it. Thank you for that interest.
You can click this link to hear Roger's song. I don't own any of the rights to the video or lyrics. Roger is the piano player who is the lead singer for the song. In the video, Roger reminds us, "Folks, it doesn't matter what that newspaper says, the back of the book says, we win."

This song has provided me with so much comfort throughout the trials I have faced in life. While my trials pale in comparison to what some go through in life, I can say that I have faced times where I was hateful, angry, lonely, and hopeless. Of course, I am not proud of these moments. Ultimately, I displayed a lack of faith and virtually no trust in the Father. I thought deliverance was only defined by me getting my way. I quickly learned that deliverance from God is based on His will and His way and not mine. I learned that it does not matter where you go or what you face in this world, it matters what you carry and how you carry it. These words remind me that, as a Christian, I carry Christ with me. I carry His Word. My life should be a pleasing home for the Spirit to dwell in.

Remember Jesus' words in Matthew 6:25-34? He tells His followers, you and me, not to worry about how things will go tomorrow and further. Instead, focus on today. After all, it has enough troubles. These words come after Jesus speaks about being a light to the world (Matt 5:13-16), not being angry against others (Matt 5:21-26), not retaliating no matter how much we want to or think we should (Matt 5:38-42), loving all (even our enemies) (Matt 5:43-48), how we should pray (including the teaching about forgiving others) (Matt 6:5-15), and laying up our treasures in heaven and not on earth (Matt 6:19-24). These words also precede teachings on how we should not be the judge of others (Matt 7:1-6), the golden rule (treating everyone, even those we disagree with, the way you would like to be treated) (Matt 7:12-14), and building our lives on the foundation of the rock who is Jesus (Matt 7:24-27). These words may be difficult to swallow at times, but the reason we can and should live as Jesus taught in these passages is because as His people we represent Him, His church, His Father, and His kingdom in this world. Not to mention the promise of an eternal home of life and light. We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Cor 5:20). Are we being good ambassadors?

We don't have to fear what we face in this world because our home is not of this world. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20) so we should alway and only be heaven focused and heaven bound. As I type, think, and speak I ask myself this question, "Will my words benefit the kingdom of God?" If not, I probably shouldn't share them. I don't always accomplish that, but it is my goal. But, how and why can we be so confident to not worry about where we are headed? Because when we belong to Christ the only place we are headed is heaven. When we belong to Christ we have the reassurance of reading the back of the book and knowing that we win! Because of this, we have hope in the darkness.

So, as we face many troubles today...and as we know we will face many troubles tomorrow, let us remember what the back of the book says.

"Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"  - Revelation 22:12-20

While Roger's words comfort and teach me, the way he lived his life has taught me more. He was faithful, trusting, and confident in God's promises and deliverance. He faced immense trials, but He never walked alone. He was encouraging and God fearing every day. In this world we live in today, we need Roger's words, teaching, and example. In the midst of great darkness, he showed greater hope in the greatest God! Because of his hope, faith, and love he was able to face everyday and proudly sing, "no more livin' in darkness, we'll be livin' in hope of HIM!" I wish you could've met him.

Be encouraged, have faith, trust God, and do not fear for the Lord is near. We've read the back of the book and we win! There is hope even in the midst of the darkness. Amen.

May God bless you and have favor upon you! Our God is alive! God loves you and so do I!
In Him,

Todd Johnston

1 Comment

Hattie Perry - September 18th, 2021 at 9:11am

I was feeling some type of way last night and this morning. Satan tried his best to pull me down emotionally. I realized it was a trick of Satan to have me feeling stressed, worried and filled with anxiety. Thank God, I spoke out loud to him and acknowledged that I knew he was trying to stile my Joy and peace. I have suffered with stress and anxiety for many years at work. Now that I am tired I'm learning to control it. Reading my email from the church this morning I read pretty much every email from the church before I read your blog. It was very inspiring and helped me remember who I belong to and I can trust in God always. I listened to the song and loved it. As you did, when I need inspiration I too will use it as a go to. I will live in Hope day to day when darkness tries to overtake my Joy, peace and happiness. Love you brother Todd and thank you for bringing us the word of God. You are appreciated!!! 🙏💕