Hope is Not a Candle

Read: Isaiah 9:2 & Luke 12:35-48

I stood partly in the rain at dusk tonight, a candle cradled in one hand, my phone in the other. The sky was cold and against it, the fire let off a Narnian glow. I snapped a few pictures but seconds later, a wind gust and raindrop snuffed out my flame.  

Ah, well, Instagram always makes things look easier than they are. 

It’s night now, and I’ve been thinking about that candle in the rain and just how quickly darkness doused it. It has John 1:5 reverberating through my mind:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

That’s no small thing because darkness is no small thing. Pair it with a rainstorm, and it shrouds everything. My flame couldn’t withstand even a few drops.

But here— John says the Light will win, the dark will die.

The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light;

those who dwelt in deep darkness,

on them has light shone.

– Isaiah 9:2

And yet the people who walked in darkness loved the darkness rather than the Light (John 3:19). Israel was asleep and dreaming of rescue from Rome when King Jesus broke onto the scene. She only rolled over and moaned, “Blasphemy.”

Maybe that’s why Jesus told his people a story about servants waiting for their master to come home. Some said, “My master is delayed,” and when the master did come suddenly, he found them drunk and dozing. He killed them.

But there were other servants in that house who kept their lamps burning in the window. Servants who hoped (Luke 12:35-48).

My candle tonight reminded me of optimism that says, “Circumstances will work out!” and that the windstorm silences. But hope says, “Someone will make things right!” and that— that can’t be silenced or snuffed.*

We wait this Advent—just as Israel waited—and in hope, we light a candle. But isn’t hope more longsuffering than a flickering wick on melting wax?


Hope in King Jesus weathers the rainstorm and overcomes the darkness and keeps burning in the window, ready at all hours for the Master’s return.

For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness” (Psalm 18:28).

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises…(Heb. 6:11-12)

* This difference between optimism and hope is something I remember from The Bible Project Podcast’s series on rest. You can (and really should) explore their podcast here.

5 thoughts on “Hope is Not a Candle

  1. Wow, always need reminded that I need to be a servant waiting and alert for the return of the king. I definitely have been pretty lacking and lazy in that area lately. I’ve been putting my light under a basket instead of letting it light the whole house.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for pointing out this distinction so beautifully! I’m looking forward to this advent series!

    (And I’m excited that you listened to Bible Project’s podcast on rest, too!)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just found your site from the Rebelution, and can’t wait to read more of your posts! I never thought about this distinction between optimism and hope, but it reminds me of how people are so excited for 2020 to be over with the idea that 2021 will be better. That’s optimism, but true hope says that no matter what comes next Jesus will come and that’s what matters! Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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