“I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
NO FOLLOWER OF MINE SHALL EVER WALK IN DARKNESS;
NO, HE SHALL POSSESS THE LIGHT OF LIFE.”
- John 8:12
As we move through our longest days of the year, I thought this might be a good theme for reflection.
JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Christ brings us “light.” And light is good, right? We often speak about light in terms of goodness. Here are some adjectives that come to mind when I think of light: bright, sunny, fresh, clean, happy, cheerful, colorful, inviting. While in light, we see better, most plants grow more heartily, life is often more vibrant and active; a definite thriving occurs in the light. Personally, I have more energy in summer which may be due to the longer hours of daylight. Therefore, I believe that Jesus being a source of light makes a lot of sense.
NO FOLLOWER OF MINE WILL WALK IN DARKNESS. We often equate darkness to hardship, trouble, a bleak outlook, even “evil.” Many children are afraid of the dark. Most of us choose to sleep when our part of the world is dark. Here are some adjectives that come to mind when I think of darkness: dull, gloomy, foreboding, mysterious, dangerous, bleak, scary, brooding, dismal. I admire night owls and night-shift workers who are better conditioned to function in the dark than myself.
Still, darkness is a part of life. Not only a considerable portion of every twenty-four hours, darkness is also a part of our experiences. In reality, we all encounter sunny, easy, fun, special, wonderful times, as well as depressing, hard, despairing, chaotic, hurtful times. Everyone experiences their share of both sides of life’s light and dark metaphorically good and bad fortune.
The good news is that after darkness, light always follows! Day breaks with a rising sun to greet us after each cycle of night. Understanding this pattern, we move through night; we also struggle through challenges. Knowing this rhythm, we persevere; it’s why we help and encourage one another to hold on… Yes, after the darkness, we find the light. You may hear the expression “see the light at the end of the tunnel” related to all kinds of striving such as:
We find ourselves in dark situations. Yet we have hope. Why? How? How can we have hope that happiness will return after serious heartache or struggle? Why do we hold onto any kind of faith in such endeavors? Because the cycle is inherent and intrinsic. Somewhere inside we know the light will come. We await the dawn with souls eagerly yearning for peace, love, and joy to return.
As I ponder, I consider another idea about nighttime and darkness. Darkness isn’t completely bad. I feel cool, welcomed breezes after sunset on a summer’s evening. I see bright stars twinkling through velvety blackness on a clear night. I smell the campfires of my memories which includes friends, laughter, and guitar strumming. Then, as our conversation fades, I hear a peaceful “quiet” filled with the cadence of cicadas behind cracks and snaps as flames lick the burning logs.
Now you’re thinking that ruins my whole metaphor, right? I say, let’s ponder further, a bit more deeply…
In our dark times (our times of struggle and turmoil) what often happens? Well, in mine, I find strength I didn’t know I had, faith I may have doubted, love I may have missed, and lots of support I wasn’t aware existed. I witness friends and family pull together, make time to assist, cover our backs, or lend a hand. I recognize the angels around me and sense the Spirit’s love and wisdom shining as it guides me through a particular darkness. Yes, points of light exist, even in darkness--just as those gold stars hanging in the black sky or the orange embers glowing among charred firewood. I may find myself in darkness; it may be lousy or annoying or horrible. But I can still find tiny bits of good to carry me through until dawn pours over the horizon.
HE SHALL POSSESS THE LIGHT OF LIFE. Those who choose to follow Christ will possess light--His light. His light will live inside us. We will and do thrive on the steady glow of His sustaining love. This same light of life brings us hope and continually shepherds us out of darkness.
May you often find Jesus’ light shining in your life. May you enjoy July, summer, and long days of light in the atmosphere, as well as in work and family, and in your own attitudes and hearts!
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.