Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Stubbornness of Light

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:5

I've long had a problem sleeping late. It seems no matter how tired I am, when the sun comes up and pokes its rays through the bedroom window, I wake up and can't go back to sleep. The obvious solution - go to bed earlier - works sometimes, but there are times when I stay up later than I intend and really, really want to sleep in the next morning. When sunrise is at 6 or 6:30 a.m., I find myself awake and still feeling tired. 

To try to remedy this problem, we've attempted various solutions to cover the bedroom window. Our most recent solution found my husband and me tacking thick black oilcloth over the windows last night. Three layers should do the trick, I thought. But when I awoke this morning at 6:45, I could see a clear strip on the left where the stubborn light poked through. We tackled it again, closed the door, and looked again for light. There in the middle where two pieces joined was another spot that needed to be "touched up". Only moments ago, I went in the room again to test our fix in full bright sunlight and sure enough, there was one more spot on the right. It's pretty dark in there now, but I have no doubt that I will continue to see places where light seeps through - because light is stubborn like that. 

It's a physical as well as spiritual reality - light always wins out over darkness. The tiniest pinprick of light in the darkest cave becomes a beacon to guide a wanderer to the entrance. A match lit in the middle of a cloudy night outdoors with no street lamps can provide light to keep a camper from stumbling. From the earliest moments of creation, when God spoke, "Let there be light", the darkness hasn't had a chance. 

The NET Bible translates John 1:5 as: "And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it" and explains its choice of translation: 
...For John, with his set of symbols and imagery, darkness is not something which seeks to “understand (comprehend)” the light, but represents the forces of evil which seek to “overcome (conquer)” it. The English verb “to master” may be used in both sorts of contexts, as “he mastered his lesson” and “he mastered his opponent.”
Darkness being dark and black is to be expected. You may have heard the old quote (I couldn't find the source), "The problem in areas in spiritual darkness is not with the darkness, but with the light." That is so true. Jesus Himself tells us:
You are the light of the world; a city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16).
History shows that persecution and restrictions placed on believers cannot stop the Gospel from moving forward. Sometimes restrictions, imprisonment,and even martyrdom have actually fueld the flames of revival. - 2011 30 Days of Prayer booklet, Day 27, page 35

The nature of light is to shine - and light penetrates darkness. Try as I might, there will always be points of light poking through our window. And I pray that they will always remind me that no matter how bad the battle with darkness might look, ultimately, light will prevail. My job, like yours, is just to shine.

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