At that time you were separate from Christ. . . . without hope and without God in the world. Ephesians 2:12
“I lay on my bed full of stale liquor and despair,” wrote journalist Malcolm Muggeridge of a particularly dismal evening during his work as a World War II spy. “Alone in the universe, in eternity, with no glimmer of light.”
In such a condition, he did the only thing he thought sensible; he tried to drown himself. Driving to the nearby Madagascar coast, he began the long swim into the ocean until he grew exhausted. Looking back, he glimpsed the distant coastal lights. For no reason clear to him at the time, he started swimming back toward the lights. Despite his fatigue, he recalls “an overwhelming joy.”
Muggeridge didn’t know exactly how, but he knew God had reached him in that dark moment, infusing him with a hope that could only be supernatural. The apostle Paul wrote often about such hope. In Ephesians he noted that, before knowing Christ, each of us is “dead in [our] transgressions and sins . . . . without hope and without God in the world” (2:1, 12). But “God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead” (vv. 4–5).
This world tries to drag us into the depths, but there’s no reason to succumb to despair. As Muggeridge said about his swim in the sea, “It became clear to me that there was no darkness, only the possibility of losing sight of a light which shone eternally.”
What has been your darkest moment? In what places have you glimpsed the “light that shines eternally”?
Father, You’re the source of all my genuine hope. Fill me with Your light and joy.
The Israelites believed they alone were saved and chosen by God “out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2). Circumcision, marking them out as God’s people (Genesis 17:10), soon became a badge of their spiritual and national superiority, creating an exclusivism that hindered them from becoming “a light for the Gentiles” bringing His salvation to the world (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6). The Jews pejoratively labeled the gentiles the “uncircumcised” (Ephesians 2:11), erroneously believing that God would never love the gentiles. Correcting this, Paul says that “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body” (3:6). Both Jews and gentiles are saved by grace through faith (2:1–9; Romans 3:29–30). Through the cross Jesus tore down the wall of hostility that separated Jews and non-Jews, placing both into one body, God’s household—the church (Ephesians 2:14–22).