Searching for Light After Darkness

A few moments after getting to my in-laws for Christmas, I received a phone call telling me that one of our team members had died the previous night. It was tragic, sudden, and extremely sad. But little did I know then that this was only the beginning. Over the next six weeks, we lost three direct team members to tragic health situations and a total of nine people overall when counting team family members. 

Winter is the darkest time of the year, and this past winter was one of the darkest. 

As those who follow Jesus celebrate Easter this week, I want to dedicate this post to exploring this question: Can there be light after darkness? Admittedly, this is my annual Easter post, which is a departure from the usual format of this blog. I hope you continue, but if you don’t, I’ll return to the usual format next time. My prayer for you and those grieving is that you find the light. 


As I’ve shared before, one of the most striking things about Jesus is his compassion. The gospel of John does a good job of giving a glimpse of this when his friend Lazarus dies (John 11:1-44). After comforting Lazarus’ sisters, Martha and Mary (verse 19), Jesus moved on to where Lazarus was laid to rest. Then, the narrative arrives at the pivotal moment. Upon arriving, John writes these words: 

“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35)

Not only is this the shortest verse in the Bible — it is perhaps the most relatable, for we live in a very broken world. Another way to say it is “broken” is to say it is dark. 

Darkness is cancer, heart attacks, and sudden illness that leads to death. Darkness is gun violence, racial injustice, and poverty. Darkness is all kinds of war, just and unjust. Darkness is loneliness, broken relationships, and political strife or idolatry. Darkness is abuse, neglect, and harassment.

The list could go on. 

The skeptic asks, perhaps rightly — with all this darkness, how is there even a God that is good? 

While such a question deserves to be answered — and to be fair to the reader, I believe such an answer exists — notice what Jesus did not do with Mary and Martha. He didn’t answer the question of why. When Mary stated that her brother would have survived had Jesus been there (verse 32), Jesus didn’t agree or disagree. Instead, he just asked where Lazarus was (verse 34), and then he wept.

One of the thousands of reasons why I follow Jesus is because of this: Jesus mourned with those who mourned. He is worth following because his goal was not to win an argument, prove a point, or win a convert. 

One chapter prior, in John 10:10, Jesus said:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Emphasis mine). 

What I learned about darkness this year is that I have to force myself to wallow in it. I have to mourn with those who mourn and resist the urge to move on to the next business opportunity or distraction. And if that means I must wipe away a tear as I walk our plant floor, then so be it. 

Jesus wept. 

So must I. 


I’m going to confess something now: Sometimes, it takes the right set of circumstances to allow myself to feel what I need to feel — and sometimes, it takes international travel for this to happen. I’ve discovered that the lack of sleep, change of routine, and a little bit of homesickness can lessen my self-defenses and allow me to feel what I need to feel. 

One of those moments occurred on January 25th this year. I was leaving Barcelona, one of my favorite places on the planet, and was in the right place at the right time for something I might never forget. 

We were headed to Munich before switching planes and heading back to Chicago, and our flight left Barcelona right at sunset. As we took off, the sky was cloudless. Amazingly, the darkness that had engulfed us on the ride to the airport 90 minutes earlier had disappeared. Outside the airplane window, I could see light beginning to emerge over the Mediterranean. 

I looked up from the book I was reading and then decided to put it down. As I looked out, I just sat in complete and utter wonder. 

One of the things my friend and pastor has always encouraged me to do is look for God in the every day and then praise Him with attributes found in the Bible. This was that kind of moment: 

I silently prayed: 

God, you are the Creator. As I look at the sun coming out from what appears to be underneath the Mediterranean Sea, all I can say is WOW. You are majestic. You are the Light of the World. As I ponder the darkness of losing several Hoffer Plastics team members, I am reminded in your word that you are the Comforter. Jesus, you wept. Because you wept, I know it is okay to weep myself. And Lord, I have! I mourn with those who mourn and pray for you to bring comfort that is unexplainable. Lord, there are times when words just are inadequate, and this is one of those times. I pray you will intercede and bring peace. While your people can be divisive, I know you are the God of peace and I praise you for that. Amen” 

As our plane gained altitude and headed north to Germany, I realized there could be light after darkness. After all, Good Friday was the darkest of days, and it led to Easter morning. 

I know that a short blog post will not convince anyone that Jesus died and rose again. While I believe He did, my prayer is that this post increases your curiosity about Jesus. What I know is that this year has been hard, and most years have elements that are also hard. Jesus is my hope in those years and where I turn when I am at my lowest. If I lean in enough and wait long enough, my experience is that the darkness disappears. I hope that in Jesus, one day, it will be gone forever. 

My words end here, but if you are curious or need a little hope this Easter, may I direct you to something that may help? 

Here is singer-songwriter Blessing Offor — a blind man — singing about how he hopes heaven is like a Tin Roof. I hope it moves you like it moves me.