“…et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt” (Ioannes I:V),
Undoubtedly, if you’ve ever tasted life, you’ve been stressed. You didn’t meet an important deadline, you did something terribly wrong, you upset someone, you were mad perpetually for a reason you couldn’t figure out, etc…. Or perhaps you yourself weren’t the problem, but the world around you raced on at its typical licentious pace, with all its awfully sinful tendencies, and you felt like giving up with the cry, “How long, O Lord?”
Indeed, life is a frustrating thing. Sometimes we will, in fact, want to do nothing but crawl in a hole and die.
Is there hope?
We all know that in the end, good will triumph over evil. The demonic powers will be defeated, and God will be “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28).
This caused me to think of a verse from the first chapter of St. John’s Gospel. We are told in verse five that “the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it”. Notice the use of the present and past tenses, “shines” in the Light’s case and “did not comprehend” in the case of darkness. I think, perhaps, this is a very intentional thing. The Light (Christ, the eternal Word) shines eternally, without stopping, so that at every moment He is shining now. It’s not a matter of “shone once and is now finished”, but instead it’s a perpetual act that doesn’t stop. It occurs simply because He exists, and since He’s always existed and always will, so He has always illuminated and always will.
The use of the past tense for comprehension when it comes to darkness is similarly interesting. It “did not comprehend” while the Light is in the process of shining. Darkness is, in a sense, an eternal “step behind”. It doesn’t catch up. It did not comprehend the Light, and the Light goes on ahead of it, shining continuously, stronger in every situation.
It’s not just a matter of “evil will fail in the future”. It has already failed, since the Light vanquished it by His death. Darkness only has free reign in the world so that the Light may shine more brilliantly. As has been said by countless people, God always let’s evil go to work, so that He might bring about a greater good. Darkness has already lost, and it knows that. Sure it revels in this test period for men that is the world, but it has lost.
And while it’s allowed to wreak havoc, we can but repeat the words of St. Paul: “I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).