Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. (Isa. 9:1)

few have known isolation and darkness as Helen Keller did. While still a toddler, she was left blind, deaf, and mute by illness. Frustration turned her into a wild, rebellious child.

At the age of six, Helen’s darkness ended when a young teacher, Anne Sullivan, came into her life. Through firm discipline and loving determination, Anne taught Helen how to communicate with the world; and Helen found hope, light, and a new freedom. When told about God, she replied that she already knew Him; He had always been there with her in her darkness.

In Isaiah’s time, the northern kingdom of Israel was utterly destroyed by Assyria. God used Gentile idolaters to discipline His rebellious nation, but God never stopped loving the Jewish people. Isaiah’s marvelous prophecy was meant to bring hope during a time of terrible darkness. A Messiah would come and bring light, joy, and freedom to the oppressed people of the future Galilee.

In our own Christian experiences, we, too, will undergo times of dark distress as God deals with our imperfect souls. If we endure His loving hand of discipline, we will discover He is with us and we are never alone in our ordeals. And when light replaces darkness, we will have learned the vital truth that our joy, peace, and freedom come from God alone and not the circumstances of this world.

Believe the Lord’s promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Carol Chase and her husband spent many years circumnavigating the world by sailboat. She is retired and currently coordinates an e-mail prayer group from home.