As a little kid my older siblings and I would watch scary television shows and movies and you’ll never believe it, I was scared of the dark. In fact, I slept with the closet light on until I was in the eighth grade because I was convinced evil things lived under my bed and waited in the cover of darkness to reach out and grab me and pull me in, never again to return to the light of day. Like most children I had a vivid and sometimes wild imagination, but I also had a basic grasp of the truth: evil lurks in the cover of darkness and is exposed by the light.
Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 (NIV)
And then snap! Just like that I was no longer afraid of the dark! Not only was I no longer afraid of it, it was no longer my enemy because you can’t recognize demons when you are running alongside them under the cover of darkness. Just before and during my first year of high school several persons I looked up to and trusted in introduced me to forbidden fruit activities. Many of which took place under the cover of darkness, imagine that! Unfortunately, I fell under the incorrect impression I was being set free from the rules which bound me from really living. Just like Eve in Genesis chapter three, I was deceived. And it is important to note that Eve, just like me, knew and trusted her tempter because the text doesn’t indicate she was afraid of or unfamiliar with him. And for a time, I can’t speak for Eve, but at least for me, it was rather novel and exciting to run with and through the darkness.
Until it wasn’t. And the age of innocence was over and I was left with my evil deeds and shame, and I hid from the light of the truth. As things began to fall apart I wanted to blame others for the troubles of my own making. Sound familiar? Yes, the blame game also originated in Genesis chapter three. I was caught in a trap until I turned back to the light and the trap was sprung by the journey out of darkness back into light.
The opening lines of the very first book of the Bible instruct us on the nature of light and darkness.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light, “ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:1-4 (NIV)
These four short sentences are packed with information, first that there was a beginning and God was there! And like a potter considering a formless lump of clay, there was no shape or form to the earth as God prepared to act upon it. And there was darkness. Darkness was present because up until that moment God was not. Which is exactly where I was, in darkness, away from the light of the presence of God.
We are told in these opening lines God is Spirit! And as his Spirit hovered over the waters (water often symbolizes chaos in scripture) there was darkness until God showed up and spoke these words, “Let there be light.” Did you ever stop to consider it is the very presence of God who brought light and order to chaos during the first moments of creation? Do you realize his presence still brings light and order to chaos and darkness in our lives when we choose to return to life under the canopy of his light and goodness? We know the light described here isn’t light from the sun or moon, they came later in creation. This very same experience of entering into the presence of this Holy Trinity has transformed the chaos and darkness not only in my life but millions and millions of lives over the years, through the light and order of his presence. God the Father offers his gift of grace through Jesus Christ and the power of his Holy Spirit sealed in you through faith and baptism brings light, the light of God and his truth into our lives. It is the only thing that can because all truth is God’s truth. The passage goes on to confirm it is his word and presence that actually separates light from the darkness!
And we must not read these magnificent opening lines of Genesis, the book whose name means beginning, without coupling them together with the opening lines of the Gospel of John!
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5 (NIV)
Wow. Is. All . I. Can. Say. Again, so much packed into so few words. The Word the disciple John is referring to is Jesus Christ, the one and the same God man he walked and talked with. The one he watched die on a cross. The one he saw risen from the dead. The author John is telling us this same God man is the very God who spoke all things into being, the Author of life!
The Greek word for Word that John used here is logos from which we derive our word logic. John is telling us Jesus is the logic and the light of the world and the bringer of the light, order and life to earth through the power of his voice and the Holy Spirit, which hovered over the waters. There is the Trinity right at the beginning! Bathed in light and life. John later goes on to confirm this truth, quoting Jesus’ own words,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV).
The scriptures are full light language that is so much more than just some abstract philosophy. It is the lifesaver and preserver that drew me back from the dark abyss. And all that was required was a willingness on my part to come back into the light and move out of the darkness and away from death. And one of the most beautiful discoveries is I don’t have to wait until I die to receive the keys to the kingdom and neither do you! His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path to guide my walk through this valley of the shadow of death in this world, in the here and now.
All I need do is turn on the switch.
Be joy filled always,