Darkness and Light

Have you ever heard anyone say “the days are getting shorter”? Well, the days aren’t really getting any shorter. There are still 24 hours in every day. What they are trying to say is that they’ve noticed that our daylight hours are diminishing. The sun disappears over the horizon a little earlier every day. Summer is almost spent!

When I was about 16 my dad was trenching on the west side of our home town. A new house had been built and we were trying to hook it up to the town’s sewer system. It was getting late so the owner strung out a row of lights so that we could all see what we were doing.

Because the soil was sandy in composition, my job was to dig the rest of the way with a spade (in a wooden cage). I had just started digging for the main line when the whole trench caved in! It all happened so fast. The wooden cage I was in was completely covered over and I was actually buried up to my waist! One of the things I noticed immediately was the absence of light. The cave in had taken out the string of lights, but even more than that, the light from the moon and stars was completely blocked off. I couldn’t see my hand right in front of my face!

Obviously I wouldn’t be writing about what happened if I hadn’t been rescued successfully. Have you ever experienced that kind of darkness? Darkness can be quite frightening. The Bible often talks about darkness metaphorically. For example, when Judas went out to betray Jesus John adds just a few short words, “And it was night” (John13:30), an indication that something evil and dark was taking place.

In one of Jesus’ many stories Jesus tells about a wedding feast prepared (Matt. 22:2-14)but those who were invited made up excuses as to why they couldn’t attend. As a result the hall was filled up with those taken off the streets. In the end, there was one who was not dressed appropriately for the celebration and the king asked his servants to throw him out. “Cast him into utter darkness,” he said. Utter darkness! What is darkness but the absence of light. Utter darkness can be understood here as eternal separation from God.

There is a deliberate contrast between darkness and light in the Bible. John proclaims, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” (1John 1:5). In the Genesis creation account we are simply told that God created but His creation was without form, empty, and full of darkness. The very first words spoken by God, as recorded in Scripture, was “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:1-3). LIGHT! It is significant that God spoke light into existence first. Light reflects the very nature of God.

So, when Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12), He was claiming to possess the very nature of God. Science teaches us that without sunlight, and the warmth it brings, life would not be possible and that’s exactly what Jesus was saying, “Apart from me life is not possible.”

There is still a great deal of darkness in the world, however, as followers of Jesus we are encouraged by the words of John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Do you have the light (life) of Jesus shining in you? Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!