The Light of the World

The light of the world is a simple thing, I think. Jesus said that its us - me and you and the rest of us - we're the light. Somehow we are the blazing, warm light that radiates from the beginning of creation. When he called both light and darkness into being he must have planned, even then, to wrap us in light. When I think of light I think of warm sunshine and soft shadows. I think of life and vitality. Growth. Things grow in the light.

Darkness lives here in our lives too. We spend our nights in darkness, resting and sleeping, tossing and turning, waiting for the moment the sun comes creeping over the horizon. Our life cycles revolve around day and night. Over and over again we live out our lives in the daylight and then lean into one another at night. Somewhere we know that there could never be light without darkness or day without night.

I wish I could remember who said it, but once I read something that has changed everything about the way I see the darkness. It was this, "I have come to love the darkness of sorrow for it is there that I see the brightness of God's face."

Doesn't that turn everything upside down?

I've come to love the darkness of sorrow. I am at peace, even in the dark.

Without the darkness I might never notice how bright God is. I might go on with my life, never fully aware of how brilliant and holy and glorious he is. I might never taste and see how good he is. I might never have any kind of contrast that reveals how radiant God's love is.

In our darkest spaces God becomes an oasis - a mysterious invitation to rest and grow and be nourished.

Loving the light is one thing. We all love the light. We love warmth and the comfort of seeing everything around us. Loving what the darkness reveals? That's a hard pill to swallow.

But maybe not.

I've had a whole lot of darkness over the past ten years. Addiction, grief, abandonment, deep rejection, self-hatred... I have crawled my way through very dark places. I've wiggled my feet out in front of me hoping I was stepping onto solid ground and not off of another cliff edge. It's been dark. But, oh. Oh, Jesus has been bright. I have been warm when I should have been left shivering and desolate. I have been sustained when I should have been starving. I have been comforted and loved and healed.

I don't know that I could have told you how brilliant and beautiful and fully embracing God was before I entered the darkness. In fact, God has been the most tangible to me in my darkest seasons.

My mom is always saying that we have what we need until we don't have it anymore - and then we don't need it anymore. When we're in the dark for a moment, we have what we need.

Because what we really need is for God to be revealed.

*Have you experienced the brightness of God in a dark place?*

*January 2014