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January 28, 2005

This Light

Aniak, Alaska

I sit at the window looking over the cold, fleeced ground – snow hovering low under pines reflecting dark against the winter periwinkle sky. All expectations rest on the hope of spring – a distant hope, and the sun rides slow and low on the edge of the earth. The shades and colors become so clear against the vast whiteness that surrounds. And I think of home – far south where winter rarely subdues all life and color; where my eyes never rest from the variety of shades through seasons that provide most everything but the white of winter. How wonderful color is.

In the dark winter of Alaska, color is only evident for only a small part of the day reminding me that there is only color with the presence of light. The spectrum carries every shade providing all color that would be reflected from any object. Without light there is not color.

I was sitting on my back patio at the end of last summer in South Carolina on a particularly cool evening. The colors where amazing at every turn. The crape myrtles where vibrant pink, the flowers in the raised beds were deep blue and yellow surrounded by brown bricks against the backdrop of lush green woods and grass. As the sun set, the color became less and less apparent until only vague shadows remained. I tried to imagine the colors that had disappeared, and even in my best remembrance they began to fade in my mind with the sun.

In the darkness, I created my own landscape of color and truth. I could imagine an autumn forest, and brown grass; orange flowers surrounded by red bricks. I then began to get cold and began to search for something warm to comfort me. I felt around and found something soft, warm, something that felt as if it would cover me and wrap me up. Ah – this is good for me! This is what I need. As I lay there, light suddenly appeared allowing me to look around and see. It was not autumn – it was summer. The trees were not shades of golden color – but rather green and the grass, lush and new. The flowers were blue and yellow, the brick – brown, and as I stood and looked down at my borrowed blanket, I realized it was mud! My own truth was shattered by the light. I could not deny what the light revealed. But this mud was good for me – it brought me comfort. Yes – in the darkness I thought it did. But now in this glorious light – the truth is revealed and for me to deny what the light proves to be true is to call the light a lie! Oh how I desire to embrace what now I see! I cannot help but confess what surrounds me in this light!

And so it is in the heart of man. “We look for light, but there is only darkness – for brightness, but there is only blackness. We grope for the wall as if we are blind; we grope as if we had no eyes. We stumble at noonday as if it were twilight; we are as dead men in desolate places” – Isaiah 59:9,10. “The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light” – Isaiah 9:2. “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all” – 1 John 1:5. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of man” – John 1:4. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ forgives us for out sin” 1 John 1:7. In darkness, I created my own truth and could not see what the light revealed. But then God opened my eyes, and I could not help but confess everything in the light of truth.

If God has opened your eyes and brought you from darkness to light to reveal His glorious gospel of hope and salvation, confess all that His light reveals. Your sin that you so happily robed yourself in is not a royal ermine robe; it is vile and dirty – the light reveals it – you must confess it! The blood of Jesus will forgive you. The glory of God, His righteousness and holiness are not distant religious imaginings – this is the character of our creator God. Confess it and discover true life and the promises of God! All things have become new – in this light!

Jesus said, “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