“Let light shine out of darkness…” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I love light. Sunlight, lamplight, candlelight. Big windows with the curtains tied back. Lamps brightening the corners of each room. Candles flickering in the center of a harvest table.
One evening, my parents left 12-year-old me home alone for a couple of hours. While they were gone, I turned on every light in our old house. Every. One. Our antiquated electrical system couldn’t handle the load, so the fuses blew. Every. One.
My parents returned home to a pitch-black house and a freaked-out daughter. They quickly got the message: this girl hates the dark.
Now, the irony: I lived in darkness for a decade. Led astray by foolish ideas and blinded by selfish desires, I spent most of my twenties in shadowy nightclubs and bars, looking for love and settling for less. Much less.
It was easier to live in the dark
than to step into the light
and face the truth about myself.
But God, the Source of Light, is very patient.
One September I met two new coworkers who were positively filled with light. Their eyes shone like stars, and their faces were radiant. I’m not kidding. These two people, this husband and wife? They glowed, as if all the bright colors of autumn lived inside them.
Monday through Friday, they brought a Bible to our workplace. (I wasn’t sure that was even legal.) In the break room they read passages aloud, then discussed what they’d read. As if the words were important, as if they made a difference in their lives.
Then I heard them read, “Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
I was sure they were talking about me.
Even so, I was drawn to them. Maybe it was that inner light or the warmth of their hugs. All I know is, I couldn’t turn away.
They made me welcome in their home and in their lives. They taught me what they sincerely believed to be true, and showed me a God who promised to banish the darkness.
One day, He did.
“God…made his light shine in our hearts…” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
It was like turning on a floor lamp in a darkened room. No light? Light everywhere. No truth? Truth everywhere.
All the words my friends had been pouring into me suddenly made sense.
Believe me, it wasn’t because of anything good or right that I did. Not for one second. I was still smoking pot, drinking Southern Comfort, and sleeping around with men I hardly knew.
I was a mess.
Yet, in the midst of all my sin, God’s light broke through. He aimed the beacon of His grace at the darkest corners of my soul. Not to shame me, but to claim me. Not to put an end to me, but to give me a new beginning.
“…to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
God soon revealed why He’d rescued me from that deep, dark pit: so His Son would be glorified. The spotlight is always meant to fall on Christ, not on Christians. On the Savior, not on the saved.
It’s taken me about thirty years to understand this.
Now, when I need more light in my life, I don’t look to others, however brilliant they may be. I look to Jesus.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)