Thursday, February 10, 2022

Darkness and Light

Most of us are afraid that the darkness is just going to come crashing in, no matter how much of the goodness of God we learn. We're afraid of this because that's been the pattern of our broken lives - things are going along smoothly for awhile and just at the moment that we start to think perhaps hope might possibly be real, the other shoe drops and the whole world goes dark. 

Except, of course, that it doesn't really. 

This is where we have to draw on our knowledge of darkness and light, of every single experience that we've ever had with these physical (or metaphysical? I don't know) realities. Because there are a couple of things about darkness that are true no matter what causes it, no matter how dark and bleak and heavy and real that it seems. 

First, there has never been a single darkness that has been able to cast out light. Never. Not once. Or to put it another way, there has never been a single speck of light lit up in even the deepest darkness that anyone has failed to see. No one, in all the history of humankind, has ever been sitting in a dark room with a lit candle right in front of them and had to have someone else point the candle out to them. "Oh? There's a light? Who knew?" When there is light, even the smallest bit, in the darkness, you know it. 

And second, the memory of light is an incredibly powerful thing. If you pay attention when you close your eyes, you'll find all these shades of grey and blobs of what seems like nothingness dancing around in the darkness for a little bit until it eventually fades to - almost - black. This is your eyes remembering the light. This is the remnant of all the light that you've taken in echoing slowly through the chambers of the darkness so that you never just go dark all at once; there is always, for a little bit, a little bit of light to play with. 

This is great news for those of us who worry about the darkness coming and crashing in on whatever light we're able to let ourselves believe in when it comes to God. Because these same two things are true even when this world tries to step in and take away our faith. 

First, there has never been anything in this world that has completely obscured God. The goodness of God is so woven into the fabric of our existence that it's nearly impossible to remove every thread of it. And in fact, our history is full of the testimony of those who have gone through hard times and still found God there. His story, too, is built on such experiences. Every time you talk with someone who is going through something that you're so sure would wreck you - sudden loss, violent crime, cancer, whatever - you find that when that person is a person of faith, they always have something to say about God's goodness in the midst of it all. Every time. 

That's because building this faith, investing in this faith, opening your Bible outside of Sunday morning and praying and worshiping gives you this reservoir of knowledge of the goodness of God to draw on, and you can't help but see it everywhere. No one who has known the goodness of God has ever found themselves in even the darkest room with it and not known it was there. have to build that kind of faith first. You have to risk giving yourself over to it, even when you're afraid that other shoe might drop. 

And second, when you have this kind of faith, you find that something in you remembers even when it doesn't seem possible. Something inside of you keeps playing with the light, keeps dancing with the light, even when those inevitable darknesses are settling in. There are always these little blobs of what look like nothingness dancing around in your soul, and you know they're not nothing - they are the very substance of faith. 

So many of us are afraid to look too hard into the goodness of God, to learn too much about it, because it feels fragile to us. We can't stand the thought that any, or even all of it, might crumble when darkness comes pushing in. Darkness that we know we cannot escape in this life. 

But everything that we know about darkness tells us otherwise. Or rather, everything we know about light. There has never been a single darkness that has ever cast out light, and there is a light that plays on behind our eyes when everything in front of us seems bleak. And if these things are true in the physical (again...metaphysical?) realm, how much more true are they in God? 

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