The world was dark, formless, void. Nothing at all but nothing. Our minds cannot comprehend it. But there was the Spirit. Who hovered above the waters. And He spoke, and what was created first? Light. Imagine the symphony playing in heaven while the first rays of light entered creation. Light was preeminent; everything else would follow – unleashed to dance in the spotlight of the Creator.
Fast forward through a few centuries of redemptive history. There has been sin; Israel formed as God’s people; Israel in exile for their rebellion; Israel rescued and returned; and then Israel awaiting Light again. He came humbly this time. Small, in a manger – the Light of the world. He came to die in darkness and shame, taking on the weight of your sin and mine. After darkness of crucifixion, Light returns in resurrection. He is alive!
And now we come to your heart’s story of light. This same divine power exists to create light in your heart that was so full of sin’s darkness. My heart was dark, formless, void before His light came. He spoke Jesus, and began to separate the light from the darkness within me. He spoke light into my darkness so that I could recognize true Light. So that I could see God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
My story of redemption is a story of light shining out of darkness. Anytime I reach out in love instead of curl inward in despair or selfish hoarding of resources, light is shining out of darkness. Each time I am able to comprehend, even for a moment, the eternal weight of true beauty found in my Redeemer and I turn away from the false beauty promised by the world, light shines out of darkness. When I take a deep breath and ask for forgiveness from my 4-year-old twin daughters instead of wallowing in shame that I yelled at them (again), light shines out of darkness. Every moment that I remember I am saved not because I was a “good girl,” but despite the fact that I try to be good without God, light shines in my sin-deceived heart.
What about for the darkness of a world broken and grieved around me? Will there be enough light there, too? In my calling as a counselor and a pastor’s wife, I often have a front row seat to life’s brokenness. This past summer our church community underwent grief of tragic proportion in the deaths of a mother and daughter. In the waves of darkness, of questions without answers and grief without limit, even here there was light to be found. I witnessed it when a weeping father told his distraught daughter after sharing the unspeakable news of her mother and sister’s death – “We are Easter people. We are Easter people.” It was the refrain of his heart in the middle of the darkest tragedy, and his words spoke light into my darkness and that of his daughter and that of all who heard.
How can you survive the worst of the worst? Or walk through the darkest of valleys, the middle of the broken, of the mess we have created from our darkness without Light? It is impossible. But herein lies hope – God has made his light shine in our hearts. It is a light that conquers all darkness, even the darkness of death. This is the light that dwells within –
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5, ESV)
The light shone into a world that was empty, void, formless. It shines into hearts that are the same. The Light cannot be overcome by darkness, but it will overcome darkness. What a promise to count on today for you and me as we engage in this same journey in our own hearts and in the lives of those around us.