A Severe Darkness: A Letter From Jim

A Severe Darkness: A Letter From Jim

Dear CCW family,

All people without Christ walk in darkness, but few perceive it. Some do however. To them, the story below will seem abstract yet real. Here is that person’s testimony:

I went to the subway as I had been told. I rode to the far east of the city, to the last stop. I got out. The train left, and I felt along the moist wall until I found the opening I had been told about. I stepped cautiously into the miserable blackness and the heat. I was told this was the way to put together my disjointed, untethered self, and that others on this path were the only ones who could understand and give me what I needed. I felt as if I were being sucked deeper every step down the declining walkway, yet feared that relief was no nearer as I progressed. I knew, rather, that I had been deceived again. It’s all a deception, surely, as it had alway been, but I gambled anyway with each step following the other. There had been many holes in the wall over my years, many searches, many betrayals, all lies.

But also there was the small book and the man and the plea to avoid this path that played in my ear.

The promise of solution and security and relief from my restlessness for joy pushed me more steps downward until I heard a cacophony of noise and voices. I came up to that next doorway to my hope, maybe the final one, and to the people who could perhaps understand my loss, my emptiness, my sorrow and the sickening pain.

But the little book he gave me, the sincere man, and his plea lured me irresistibly.

At the threshold of my final deception, I took the little book from my pocket. Knowing I could not even see it in the darkness, I felt it and opened it instinctively as if I could. And I could! To my surprise it was lighted as if backlit so that I could read the words and even began to understand them. It seemed immediately to be the better hope. With my eyes on the page, I turned as if I held what would be the guide I had long sought for. I read, as if it read me:

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. . .

It spoke to me when I read what those who follow Christ had once been told themselves, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The book cast a glow on my forward steps up the incline as I read. I felt as if my sorrows, and worries and sins, were falling off my back as I walked forward. I thought that the darkness was dispelling and light was here. What I had often mocked was true! What I had thought was weak was strong! Why could I believe this now? What has happened? I could not say how, but I knew a new door had opened, unplanned for, by someone else. And I was certain that I was going the right way, out of the deathly corridor, on to the subway and out into the open. I knew I was taking the first steps of my life. And it has proved to be so.

The above is the story of some with whatever changes in circumstances are experienced. In one sense, it is the story of all of us believers. Darkness then light. Surprising light. Realization of having been on the wrong path leading to more lies. Aching sadness of heart looking for meaning and forgiveness. But also, a little book, a man, and a plea are the same. Though one’s story is drawn out over more than a few paragraphs, it is often repeated.

I have a dear friend who had become a paraplegic after running into a telephone pole when drunk one night. He was at the Academy playing as a promising Navy quarterback in his first year. He did not see his darkness until later, but it came. With his stipend and settlement, he bought a bar and lived above it. The depression came and went. Several times he tried to commit suicide. This time it would happen; he was determined.

He swung himself off the bed onto his wheelchair and rolled to the threshold of the bathroom where the pills were that would end his life. But he stopped. He did not plan to stop there. He looked over to a bookshelf by the door and saw the New Testament, a little book, given to him by a sincere girl who was hoping people would hear about Christ in it and be converted. He had never been able to toss it, but never bothered to read it. He began to read right there in the doorway. He then turned to get into his bed as he kept reading. When he got to Matthew 11, he read,

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

He said, “That’s me.” He continued to read completely through the New Testament that week, then he started again. That is when he began his life with Christ which has continued forcefully until now, decades later.

How did it happen? A girl, a little book, a plea however weak, and a powerful Spirit drawing him away from eternal loss to himself by opening his eyes.


We are committed to that little book, and to the whole Bible. We see that in it are the truths that convert through the powerful Spirit and mold and build strong Christians. On our website our byline is: SERIOUS ABOUT SCRIPTURE—MENTORING AND MOTIVATING CHRIST’S PEOPLE TO LIVE HIS WORDS.

As the old year ends and the new begins, we will be gearing up for what we hope is an exceptional year of opportunities to serve. Steve will begin the year with a trip to India to teach the Bible to students of several dialects as he has for several years now. I will have my first Bible Intensive of the year. I just heard from a friend who will interview me during that time on a NY radio station, as well. We will be working harder, Lord willing, on more publications as the Lord supplies us. One burden is to provide some helpful evangelistic tools. Please pray for us concerning our travels and writing.