God is the Light, Even in Difficult Times

God is the Light, Even in Difficult Times

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). It has struck me over these last months that around the world each of us is living their own pandemic story. Social distancing is intended to slow the spread of a deadly virus, but it also separates neighbors, families, classmates and friends. We are created to be social and to live and interact with one another in community. We cannot be healthy without meaningful human contact. And there is no clear end in sight. The sense of darkness can easily overwhelm us.

In the short passage above John is talking about Jesus’ entry into the world. And with all due deference to our Greek scholars at the seminary if I’m about to go out on a limb here, it seems to me that John is offering us a metaphor that encourages us in times of despair. Scripture often works with themes of light and darkness. John would also write, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Light represents life, truth and hope.

Human history is full of dark times. To take just one example, only a few days ago I read of the state of Europe in 1946 in aftermath of the Second World War. The place was rubble. Starvation, disease and political instability followed the horrors of the war itself. But Europe rebuilt. In many ways the trials we now undergo are not, as is now so often said, “Unprecedented.” When we look around the world remains full of opportunity. To be sure, opportunity is surrounded by uncertainty. The conditions that we labor under remain difficult. But we must look to the light of God’s promises, then we can begin to see our way forward.

The FPU Board of Trustees met this last Saturday for its second fully online session. Like many of you, we had hoped to gather on campus once again. We heard stories of resiliency and forward movement. Yes, our mission has been and continues to be undermined by virus mitigation efforts. But there is much to celebrate. We have a balanced budget, even if it makes difficult compromises. Please celebrate with me that we have reached our fundraising goal for the new Culture and Arts Center and can move forward into construction. And our Advancement Office has achieved this despite the pandemic. It was with great pleasure that the board approved a name for the new building as well as a number of rooms to honor those entrusting us with their resources. Three students shared with us the challenges of distance learning. And we were blessed with a clip of a musical group performing from multiple locations through Zoom, a reminder of how critically important it is to continue to make music.

Just two years ago I wrote to you in hope-filled anticipation of a year-long celebration of Fresno Pacific University’s 75th Anniversary. We concluded with a December party to remember with our gala event. Fresno Pacific at 75 years looked very different than it did in 1944. As long as we seek the light and remain true to our calling, caring for one another with generosity and compassion, the changes we experience will only enrichen our music.


Joshua Wilson, J.D.

Chair, Fresno Pacific University Board of Trustees