Isaiah 60:19 – The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night, but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
I’ve never been a big fan of the dark. I suppose it started as a young child because bad dreams only happen when you are asleep – which is mostly at night – in the dark. Waking up from a bad dream without being able to see what’s in the room can be a scary thing for a youngster.
As I got a little older, I gathered more courage but dark was still the enemy. Everyone had to head home when the street lights began to flicker because our fun was inextricably connected to the sun’s bedtime. The three exceptions involved stargazing, campfires and fireflies, and those were only allowed under the watchful eye of a trusted adult. I wasn’t sure what was lurking under the cover of darkness, but I never felt the need to engage it.
My teenage years opened many new worlds for me where adults weren’t always necessary, and I began to spend time with friends during later hours; but my darkened angst followed me into those years as well. Happily walking into a summer movie under the safety of blue skies always emptied out into a 9pm parking lot where independent spots of light were spread out over a field of menacing car shadows. On other nights, some of my friends liked to swim in the local waters after dark. I loved the friendships; I hated the thoughts of what shared that water with us. I’m sure the visions in my imagination were far worse than anything reality had to offer, but dark always seemed to motivate me back toward the house.
Now that I am an adult, I’m still not a huge fan of the dark especially when I am by myself. I tend to take my personal safety very seriously and rarely venture out alone after the sun goes down. I like late night walks with my family, but we stick to lighted and familiar streets. We also carry multiple flashlights and have often kept company with a large dog or two. Even inside our home, pathways are usually lit by tiny lights along the walls (although sometimes I think that has more to do with unexpected obstacles and my unfavorable rapport with gravity). Should I find myself alone overnight, I avoid the dark with intentional effort. I may not suffer the nightmares of my childhood, but I am perfectly happy sleeping with the lights on.
As I contemplate my uneasiness in the presence of darkness, I find myself drawn to the strength of light – particularly as I read about light and dark in scripture. Whether Jesus is living into the title of Light of the World, or the Israelites are being reassured that God will not let them live in darkness, correlations between light and dark are often expressed as the relationship between good and evil.
“The sun will no longer be your light by day, nor will the moon shine for illumination by night.” The prophet Isaiah speaks of God’s promise to gather those who are dispersed. “The LORD will be your everlasting light,” he continues, “your God will be your glory.” Hundreds of years later, Jesus echoes the plan assuring me that if I follow, I won’t walk in darkness but will have the light of life. The reassurances offered throughout lighted scripture create a sense of peace within me.
Regardless of how I feel about physical darkness, I don’t have to live in spiritual darkness. God has provided ultimate Light and when I open my heart to the illumination, I find I can see all kinds of things that previously may have been hidden by darkness. Fear, anxiety, worry – none of that looms over me obscuring my contentedness and security. This Lent may have an uneasiness linked to illness or worldwide dangers, but my Lord and Savior assures me that the Light of Easter is coming!
Walking in Light,
PRAYER FROM ISAIAH 60
Light of the World, thank you for shining so brightly that darkness is driven away. Remove everything that blocks your light from my life, and help me to share your light so that it brightly illumines the pathway to you. Amen.