I remember being an artillery officer assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During an operation one night, we were operating in almost zero light conditions. We had flashlights, but they had to have red or green lenses on them so that the imaginary enemy there would not be able to detect us. I decided to walk around our position and check it out, as you might expect from any good 1st Lieutenant. As I walked around, pretending to appear like I knew what I was doing, I suddenly found myself airborn heading towards the ground at a high rate of speed. Apparently I had walked off a small bridge covering a (thankfully) dry gully. It was about a four foot drop, but in the darkness it felt like an unexpected, unplanned free fall. It was embarrassing for sure, but was also too dark for anyone else to see me fall (though they probably heard me grunt!). I learned that night, as anyone who has had to work in darkness knows, that life is very difficult without the light.
When it’s dark we have to slow everything down to a snail’s pace. We cannot be accurate or clear and find ourselves groping around to complete the simplest tasks. And perhaps worst of all, everything is suddenly scary. That shadowy creature that just scurried by is now a source of dread. The noise behind the bushes is probably a grizzly bear that somehow found my driveway in suburban Woods Cross. And that tickle on my face is surely a tarantula that seeks to take my life. Which one of us hasn’t imagined the evil that lurks under our bed or the foul ghoul waiting in the closet? Yet the click of one solitary light switch solves a multitude of imagined problems. Once my wife saw a guy in the hallway of our house smoking a cigarette, apparently planning the right moment to kill her (I was away playing Army in the woods). She clicked on the light to find it was only the red glow of the smoke detector light (haha). Thank God for light switches!
I’m thinking we are all pretty clear on the virtue of adding artificial light to dark situations, right? But there is another type of darkness that is far worse than the absence of physical light. It’s the darkness we experience in our hearts.
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21
Fear and error and wrong thinking causes our hearts to become dull and obscured. Think of the alcoholic for a moment. What started as a recreational activity became, imperceptibly by the user, a driving force slowly but surely stealing life away from its victims. Darkness indulged produces more and more darkness or if you will, less and less light by which to to see. That’s what is wrong with the world today; error, promoted as truth, leads a multitude of good hearted folks off the bridge and into the gully. It’s not done you on purpose of course, because you can’t see what you can’t see!
Have you ever had an awakening or suddenly found yourself illuminated on some subject? There are things that have been right in front of your face for years and years and you missed them, then all of a sudden you think, “What the hell have I been thinking that for? That’s not true at all!” That’s illumination; that’s the light. People can’t make needful changes in their lives because they cannot see the error hidden in the darkness. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it this way (though it is the same way):
“Punishment is a fruit that unsuspected ripens within the flower of the pleasure which concealed it. Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit, cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed.”
In reality, darkness is simply the absence of light. Error is darkness, truth is light. So before we get too heavy into our infamous New Year’s resolutions this year, why not make the light a starting point? Otherwise your solution for your problem may not solve your problem because the source of your problem isn’t what you thought at all! Haha Darkness, you see it? (pun intended)
Obviously by now you are literally begging to find out where to get this light! 😉 Well, God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Remember that when the world fills your mind with crazy ideas about what God does to people! (Church is no guarantee for truth) Thus, God is the best place and really the only place to start. Otherwise you will just find yourself spitting in the wind; struggling to find but continuing to wander. God hasn’t made this thing hard for us. He just needs a little curiosity on your part; a little desire to learn; a little humility… Try it out this week. Ask God to show you something that has formerly perplexed you and then pay attention. That’s not scary, darkness is scary!
Of all the things that have worked together to save me from myself over the years, the number one thing has always been the light of God’s Word. And like you perhaps, I’ve done more than my share of walking in the darkness, but when I came back (and I always come back) that Light has always been there to show me the problem and even better how to really fix it up. It works every time, how can it not because…the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed, and light has no darkness in it at all.
Let’s spend 2014 walking in the light, experiencing all the goodness that God has for us in our lives. Anybody got a flashlight?
Just some good light thoughts…