“Hey dad, why is it so dark with the light off?” This was the response I received to a simple request to go upstairs before bed and clean up the toy trains. True, his question was about literal light. But, as these things often do, his question actually made me think about spiritual darkness and spiritual light. When asked in that context, it is actually a probing question.
We understand darkness. Everyday begins with light and ends without it. We know that darkness has the ability to hide what is in front of you, or hide you from other things. But, darkness wouldn’t be darkness if there were no light to compare it to.
It is in the darkness that people try to get away with many things. There are times of the night when there aren’t many positive things you could be doing. A few years back I was awakened by some noises outside at 3 a.m.. I got out of bed and saw two guys looking through the front seat of our van. There is nothing in there, so it was somewhat of an honor that they chose us as the target for their robbery. The joke was on them. I got up to the window and said “Can I help you guys find something?” They just ran away scared. I think I could have snuck up on them while they were outside because it was really dark. What would I have done when I caught them?
My point is that most criminals wait until the cover of darkness to pull off their crime. If they don’t, then they are labeled as brazen and exceptional at their task.
Light is the opposite of darkness, but is also more powerful than darkness. Think about it. When you go into a room and turn the light on, immediately the darkness is gone. There is no epic battle to determine who is more powerful. Light always wins. In fact, you don’t need all that much light to overcome darkness, or to be noticed in darkness.
The other morning it started snowing heavily. It didn’t last long and it left quickly, but I was driving in it and was amazed at the number of people who didn’t turn their headlights on. If they had their lights on I could see them, but without them they were nearly invisible.
Why is it so dark?
Spiritually speaking, darkness refers to the evil of the world. Sin loves darkness because it is in darkness where most of its work is accomplished. People are living in darkness without hope. There are many places where people are living under oppression, hardship and extreme tensions. Addictions claim families and lives. Human trafficking is going on even today and more and more people get caught in it everyday. This week there has been exposures on the internet about a man named Kony and the world is upset about they way he forces children into warfare. With hot button issues like abortion and assisted suicide, people are finding themselves in places of darkness both in their own lives and in the world around them.
In youth ministry, I have seen recent suicide in the community. I have seen teenagers get caught in life altering scenarios where things look incredibly dark.
It is dark because of sin. It is dark because people have chosen to walk in a place absent of light.
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light, in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with im yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 john 1:5-6
God is light. If we claim to walk with him that means our light needs to shine. The world is so dark because so many people don’t have light. The world is also dark because Christians are not always letting their light shine for fear of being persecuted, or for fear of offending someone. The world needs light, though. It is the only way to rescue people from places of despair and destruction of sin.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “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
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
I watched a video today about what things look like in a part of Japan a year after the earthquake and tsunami. There is so much darkness, but people are there bringing the light into those places. If you have a few minutes, watch the video below. Then, go out and be light. The world is so dark because the light is not shining through our lives. “Hide it under a bushel….NO!” — Do you have any examples of this from your own life? Please share your thoughts on this.