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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Not just a night light

Some of humankind hated the light. They scampered hurriedly back into the darkness where vices thrive and wickedness flourishes. Those who abandon deceit and embrace what is true, they will enter into the light where it will be clear that all their deeds come from God.  (John 3:20-21 VOICE)
As a child, some of us absolutely hated the dark. We wanted nightlights left on, the door to our rooms to remain open, and some even would not fall asleep unless the radio was lightly playing in the background. Why? Light dismissed some of the shadows of darkness. An open door assured us we weren't totally alone as someone was readily within calling distance. The noise on the radio masked those noises of night we all hear from time to time, like the creaking of a house settling, the noise the furnace makes when it comes on, etc. All in all, it was still nighttime; it was still dark. We just did thing that made it seem "less dark" and "less fearful". Truth be known, we cannot change darkness - we only do things to make it "less dark" in our lives.
In the realm of our spiritual life, we can take a number of measures to ensure we have some light in our life. Perhaps we go to church on Sundays, hear a good sermon, and even nod in agreement with the speaker. We get exposed to a little light at that moment in time, but unless we take that sermon into our hearts and minds, allowing it to change the way we live out our lives, it was merely a glimpse into the light. We can even take a little time each day to read the Bible, take a few notes, and even memorize a verse or two. Yet, we can still live with a whole lot of "dark places" in and around our lives which begin to have an effect on us. I think we must go back to our passage and remember how it is we actually find ourselves "in the light" rather than dabbling in the darkness with no clear way of out. We find ourselves immersed in light because we abandon darkness, not that we just try to deal with it!
Most of us work hard to deal with darkness in our lives - then we wonder why we still get a little overwhelmed by it at times. It is hard not to stub your toe when we have to navigate things in the dark! Jesus described a "two step process" to his followers: Abandon and Embrace.  To abandon means we leave something so completely that it is deserted - our leaving is final. There is no turning back. Most importantly, this idea of abandon means that we give up completely - we surrender the darkness to whom it belongs (Satan) and never look back.  To embrace means that we take something so eagerly, pulling it close, making sure it makes a heart connection. When I embrace my grandsons, it isn't just a quick wrap of my arm around their shoulders. It is a pulling of them close to my heart, holding them tight for even just a moment. 
Embracing light happens when we get our hearts close enough to the light to have them totally affected by the light. Light carries a sense of warmth - because there is an exchange of energy. In using the term "embrace", Jesus is describing this process of giving ourselves over to the pull which brings us closer and closer to God's heart as we do. My grandsons give good hugs. They know how to come up to us, wrap their arms around us tightly and then just squeeze us a little. Why do they squeeze us as part of their hugs? I think it might just be a little more than letting us know they are making "contact", but they are ensuring we know they are committed to that contact - that connection is important to them and they want us to sense just how important it is. 
I have no doubt many of us want to abandon the darkness in our lives, but we lack a sense of how to do it. The truth is, until sunrise, we all deal with "managing the darkness". At the point of sunrise, the atmosphere in the entire room changes, doesn't it? The things hidden become apparent; the noises that haunted us just hours earlier don't seem to matter. As the light dawns, there is an overwhelming sense of peace - because light embraces us and gives us that "little squeeze" that shows us how much we can count on God to be there in our lives. We don't force light into our lives - it comes in a gentle and reassuring way. It could be that some of us are just beginning to sense the dawn in areas of our lives that have been in the dark for way too long. Don't dread abandoning that darkness, but allow the light to pull you into the position where a heart connection is made with the one who is responsible for the light in the first place. Just sayin!