The hope of light in the dark
I used to be a morning person, when mornings used to be quiet, solitary, slow. This year they’ve been abrupt, noisy, shoving—everything mornings should not be. I am disgruntled while I tie my shoes. It’s barely past 5 a.m. I know mothers and wives and fathers and farmers and workers all over the world wake up this early, but I am self-employed and childless, and have convinced myself I’m owed uninterrupted sleep until at least 6 a.m. Our dog does not agree, and in fact, seems to think the fastest way to my heart is through her leash. She noses me until I relent and meet her at the front door.
Outside, the moon is a pregnant belly, super and bright, shining the whole still-dark neighborhood over. How strange, I think, that the son of God would call himself the “light of the world,” when the most constant earthly source of light disappears every night then re-emerges as varying sizes and shapes, a mere reflection of the original source.
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But this morning I remember the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day (Ex. 13:21-22 ESV); I remember the star shining in the East (Matt. 2:1-2), the day the sun stood still (Joshua 10:12-13), and the day the earth went dark (Matt. 27:45-54). I think about how the God of the universe created the orbs and commands them even now. He is the one who sets clouds the size of a man’s fist in the sky and makes it rain for 40 days and 40 nights (Gen. 7:11-12). Storms cease at the sound of his voice (Mark 4:35-41).
Jesus tells us, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). But the kind of of light he offers is not of the natural, earthly sort. His light is supernatural and he freely offers it to whoever would follow him.
Yes, Jesus is the light of the world, but when our hope is in anything or anyone other than him, the world can go grow terribly dark in a hurry. I tend to believe Jesus is near and present when I can clearly see his hand at work in my life. But when I cannot see Jesus at work in my life, he seems absent, distant and busy, too tied up with more important things—more important people—than me.
But this morning, the supermoon shines a deceptive light on my path, blue, dim, shadowed. Not sunlight, but still of the sun—whether I can see it or not. Walking with the light of the world is like that, too, I think to myself. I am still walking in darkness, but I know the light exists.
I come back home to a still, dark, quiet house, with a somewhat-less rambunctious pup. She snores beside me on the floor and I drink my coffee slowly, quietly. I have the light of life, I think to myself, even today, in this season that feels dark in many ways. I have the light of life because I follow Jesus, and he never fails to shine, even when his light feels hidden by this world and the brokenness within it.
He is the one, true light of this world—the sun pales in comparison to the light of his presence. Even darkness is not dark to him (Ps. 139:11-12).
I light a candle and the room, once dark, is light again.