Weekend Rerun: Let There Be Light

Originally posted on January 23, 2012

She stood by my bed at midnight.  Holding her Bumblebee Pillow Pet in one hand, she dragged her pink and purple quilt behind her.

I fumbled for my glasses and reached out a hand to stroke her hair.

“Mom,” she cried, “it’s too dark.”

I walked with my daughter back to her room and realized that the one light we always keep on had been turned off accidentally.  Our house was truly black.

It’s as if my girl has an internal light-sensory device.  As soon as she sensed darkness, she had awoken and plodded across the house half-asleep in order to regain light.

Have you ever grown aware of darkness? 
Have you woken up to a sun-bright day, but still feel the heaviness of the unknown? 
Have you felt pommeled by Satan, test and trial after test and trial, and you lose hope of the brightness of the future? 
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by shadows, gloom, fear and worry?

We’re like plants, always growing toward a source of light, reaching up and over obstacles until we bask in the warm, nourishing rays of the sun.

We can do this with God because He is a light-bringer.  He is always shining brightness into our dark places.

God “divided the light from the darkness” at creation (Genesis 1:4) and declared that it was good.  It was His first act as Creator in a formless void of a world.

And when God sent us a Savior, He declared that Jesus was “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:7-9).  This is what the prophet Isaiah had promised: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2).

What does this mean for us?  What does a God who forms light out of darkness and a Savior who brings light to the world mean for our lives now?

It means we can trust Him to shine on the steps we need to take, to reveal His will, and to be present in our darkest moments.  David rejoiced: “For you are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness” (2 Samuel 22:29).  In the Psalms, David also wrote:
“For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness (Psalm 18:28).

God is just like the one light we leave on in my house after we’ve flicked off the other switches.  He is our Lamp at all times and in all places.

Even so, we all have moments when we can’t see the light, can’t feel its warmth, can’t identify its glow.  We’re in the shadows and we know it.  What then?

David also wrote : “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

He is with us in the shadows and He will walk us on out of there.

We need not fear.

In the same way, my daughter stopped crying the moment I grabbed her hand at midnight and guided her back to her room.  She was calmed by my presence even before I turned on the lamp and tucked her back into bed.

God is with us in the dark places.  He knows and sees us there.  Not only that, we can ask Him to reveal to us the treasures hidden in the shadows.

Isaiah tells us:  “I will give you the treasures of darkness and And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:3).

Daniel similarly wrote: “He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:22).

Maybe there’s great treasure hidden in your darkness right now.  Perhaps God longs to share with you secret things that are covered over in shadow, lessons we can’t learn in perpetual sunshine.

Whatever our fears, whoever “walks in darkness and has no light” can “trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon His God” (Isaiah 50:10).  We can be certain of His presence.  We can trust Him to shine brightly when we need to see.  We can count on Him to see through darkness and reveal to us the secrets and treasures of the deep places.

So, reach for God’s light today, just like the plant on the windowsill bending toward the sun.  In the middle of your darkness, your sadness or despair, your gloom or hopeless state and all the shadows of the unknown, stretch out until you are warmed by His presence and in awe of His glory.

For more thoughts on this topic, you can read these other devotionals:

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

The Paint Saga, Part II: Is that the color I picked?

 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin  (1 John 1:7).

Something didn’t look right.

This year, I embarked on an extreme painting project in order to cover over nearly eight years of child debris speckled on the walls of our home with some fresh paint.

I began in the dining room.  You can read all about that color-choosing nightmare here: The Paint Saga (Or why my dining room is now chocolate).

Fresh off the eventual success of turning my dining room into a chocolate bar, I decided to paint the kitchen.  This time, though, knowing I’d probably make a disastrous color choice if left to my own devices, I enlisted help from a trusted source–namely, my mom.

I handed her a pile of about 10 green color swatches.  Showing her the color I had picked, she picked another.

The lady at the paint store oohed and aahed over the cheerful green-as-grass color mixed up in the paint can.  In fact, it inspired her to paint her bathroom in the same color.  This, I was certain, guaranteed success.  I carried the paint home confidently, tucked my toddler into bed for naptime, and began covering every wall in my kitchen with “dillweed.”

All seemed to be going well.  The paint was fresh, clean, cheerful, and on most of the walls, it was what I wanted.

But I hadn’t considered the light.  There’s something tricky about the lighting in our home, something that makes paint look one color on one wall and a totally different (neon lime green) color on another wall.

My husband arrived home to my surprise paint job and asked me if I liked it.  Did I like it?  Well, I liked it when the lights in the kitchen were off and I liked it on the walls farthest away from the window.

But right there in that one corner of the kitchen, I felt like I needed to pop on some sun glasses to combat the glare.

The problem isn’t the paint so much as the unevenness of the light on the paint.  So, I’ve spent about two weeks trying to work in the dark of the kitchen as often as possible.  With the lights off, the lime green effect is muted and hidden and I begin to think, “It’s not so bad!” Then, when I finally concede blindness and begrudgingly flick on the lights, I shield my eyes and ask, “How long can I live with this?”

Are there areas of your life where you feel pleasantly cozy in the dark, but when the lights shine in, you feel embarrassed by the glaringly obvious wrong?

Or are you astonished and bitterly hurt at times by the hidden darkness surrounding the deeds of others as you try your best to live in the light?

Scripture assures us that:

Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops (Luke 12:2-3).

When I’m speechless at the machinations of others, when I’m disgusted by the secretive shams and the deeds performed in dark corners and shadowy alleyways, when there’s sneaking around and avoiding authority, I pray.

I ask God to “shine His light on all the deeds done in darkness so that nothing remains unrevealed.”

This isn’t just about justice or seeing misbehaviors punished.  It’s about redemption and repentance because until the light shines in, sin can remain untouched and happy while slinking around in the dark.

Unfortunately, it seems at times like sin gets ahead, like underhanded deeds succeed and good people trying to live in “all that is good and right and true” sometimes get trampled on as darkness flourishes. Sometimes the good guys lose and the bad guys dance in triumph.

Yet, the assurance that God’s light will reveal truth is our hope, assurance and comfort.  We can rest in that and pray for it.

If we do, though, we must be prepared for the inevitable shining of the light on our own lives.  We can’t just point accusatory fingers at others without first asking God to assess us.  In Ephesians, Paul challenged the church to:

Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret” (Ephesians 5:8-12).

I tell my daughters all the time, “Everyone makes mistakes” and so we do.  But when we’re intent on burying the mistakes and returning to them, we’re no longer trying “to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”  We’ve become more comfortable in darkness and when we prefer shadows to sunrise, we know we’ve got a sin problem.

Oswald Chambers wrote: “The secret of all spiritual understanding is to walk in the light–not the light of our convictions, or of our theories, but the light of God” (p. 18, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount).

If we’re letting our feelings or gut or impressions or opinions guide us, we’re bound to live under an uneven light source.  But the light of God is consistent, bright, and revealing.  There’s no uncertainty or confusion with Him. Life in the light brings true freedom and joy.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King