THE PAIN OF LIGHT
“The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” Romans 13:12 (ESV)
My, my, my…the Lord has an interesting way of getting our attention and breathing revelation into our lives at times, doesn’t He? And it isn’t always comfortable. I’d like to say I’m quite used to God’s unorthodox ways of showing Himself, but I was surprised by yet another of His unique ways of speaking to me…
Just the other day, while staying in a hotel room, I stumbled my way into the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. Much to my sleepy eye’s surprise, I was suddenly jolted to full consciousness by motion-detection lighting. It was not a welcome surprise, to say the least. While I do enjoy many facets of the newest fangled technologies of our day, smart lighting in bathrooms is certainly not one of my favorites - especially at 6 AM when I have only been sleeping for a mere 2 hours.
Imagine: there I was, startled and painfully awakened in a strange, sterile-white bathroom. With eyes aching from the abrupt shock, I realized I had been blinded and was suddenly faced with the unexpected pain of light…
This is much like of the story of Saul (soon to be renamed Paul), a man who, at one time, was possibly the greatest of all Christian persecutors. (Acts 9) That is, until Jesus spoke to him on a common road, blinded him with light, and knocked him off his horse onto the dusty path below. Saul’s eyes had been completely shocked by the light, causing total blindness. No doubt, this must have been an incredibly scary experience, but have you ever imagined the pain he must have felt as a result? I cannot fathom the excruciating pain that throbbed in his once darkened eyes…
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).” Ephesians 5:8-9 (NIV)
Each of us was once living in total darkness, hidden by the cover of sin and shame. We had each been given the sentence of eternal death because of our fallen nature. But then Jesus, the light of the world, came down and beckoned us into His beautiful, redemptive light…
I don’t know how or when God revealed Himself to you; it may not have been a comfortable encounter. Perhaps He found you on the floor of a prison cell or a foreign bathroom. Maybe you had reached your very end, and as a last resort, you cried out for God to show up in your life. Perhaps the light of His redemption rushed in accompanied by the sting of pain. But what a beautiful pain it is to be blinded by the light of Christ…to be set free from the darkness of human fault, sin, and condemnation.
Though each of our eyes were surely used to the darkness when Christ found us, would we ever want to go back to the dark holes from which we came? If given the choice, would Paul have wanted to rewind the clock and jump back on his horse and into his former life of persecution and hate? No way - once he encountered the Living God, there was no going back…
From the moment a person has been touched by the grace, mercy, and love of Jesus’ light, there should be no point of return. No amount of pain from this light should ever be able to tempt him or her back into former darkness. So why do we, at times, allow our old ways of selfishness, self-condemnation, and even shame to lure us back into their dark pits? How can we turn back once we’ve been beckoned into Christ’s marvelous light?
As silly as it sounds, back in that hotel room, Christ shined into my dazed eyes to illuminate the importance of embracing the areas of darkness still existing in my own life. Through this encounter, I believe God desires to remind you of the same. Our Creator wants each of us to remember that sometimes the way He shines light into our lives can be painful and uncomfortable, but it is more than worth it.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:43 (NIV)
God exposes our darkness for our ultimate good - so we may step closer and closer to the light of freedom and wholeness in Him. He seeks to bring healing to our long-festering wounds and redemption into the broken places of our lives. So often, these supernatural events can’t take place until the pain of light shocks us, grabbing our attention away from worldly distractions and traps. Unless we work with God and allow Him to expose us, we will never find true life and completion. We will forever be running back and forth from darkness into light, eventually cowering back into the night…
So where do we go from here? What do we do when we find ourselves in life’s awkward hotel bathroom, blinded by an unexpected light? We must thank God for illuminating the darkness around us, for protecting us from the unseen things we may have stumbled upon, had He not shown up when He did. And whatever we do, we must never turn our backs to the light. We must refuse to slink back into the familiar, comfortable shadows of darkness.
Do not entertain the lying murmurs of the enemy of your redeemed soul. Precious child of God, listen, instead, to the loving invitations of your Savior and Eternal Friend. Christ’s desire and longing is that you embrace His light by taking His outstretched hand. He wants you to place your hand in His, allow Him to illuminate your face, and pull you up from the miry clay.
“…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 (NIV)
As the Son shines upon you today and each day of the rest of your life, remember to welcome Christ however, whenever, and wherever He finds you. And though it may hurt for a time, learn to embrace the beautiful pain of His light…
Blinded and Free,
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