January 8, 2023

land of the living

Psalm 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (ESV)

pexels karolina grabowska 6610073 2The dead of winter leaves many disheartened. SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a form of depression my own friends and family struggle with annually. At times they don’t even feel like they’re part of the ‘land of the living’, wanting only to hunker down and hibernate until spring. But for many, SAD symptoms can improve by engaging with the ‘land of the living’, refusing to pull the covers over your head. Others find relief through light therapy because sunlight is lacking during winter’s shorter days.

While not all of us suffer from SAD, we all live in a sad darkness because of our sin. But God loved the world so much He put a rescue plan in motion. The Bible says that “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light.” Matthew 4:16 (ESV) Jesus, God’s only Son and the ‘Light of the World’ made a way for all who believe in Him to have temporal ‘land of the living’ comfort as well as the promise of eternal ‘land of the living’ joy in heaven.

As God called His Old Testament people to join the ‘land of the living’ by trusting and obeying Him, we too live abundantly through trust and obedience. Our Son-light (Jesus) offers relief from death, freeing us from the desire to hunker down and focus inward. He calls us out to the ‘land of the living’ as we engage with His Word and seek to obey Him with the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ light disperses sin’s darkness as He gives us new life.

Reflection: Do you know someone who struggles during the winter months? Consider inviting him/her to take a walk or grab coffee to help them connect with the land of the living!

Father God, infuse me with the light of Your Son and help me experience Your goodness in the land of the living as I trust and obey You. Amen.

Shawn Maassel, Huntingtown, MD

Shawn MaasselShawn began taking Body & Soul® classes as a student in 1990 after her first child was born. Years later, after a move and transition to full-time church work, she became a Body & Soul® instructor in order to bring the ministry and classes to her new church. She has been leading classes since 2003 in Huntingtown, Maryland and enjoys being part of Body & Soul’s® Spiritual Impact Team. Shawn and her husband have three grown children and two grandsons across the country.