He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son
Colossians 1:13 ESV
Darkness and light. These are two recurring themes in the Scriptures. They start at the very beginning of the Book as God begins His process of Creative differentiation with these two states. Darkness and light. It was a combination of these two that we see atop the mountain of God as Moses and the dirty million pioneered up to that hulking rock. They looked up and there were dark clouds encompassing the top of the hill and lighting would strike, flashing bright, jagged streams of electric illumination through the midst of that darkness (on top of all that there was somebody playing a trumpet up there…my Church of God brethren would say it was Phil Driscoll, I personally lean toward Maynard Ferguson). We know that God himself emitted some kind of light as Moses’ face would radiate the light of God so brightly after he spent time in the tent with the Creator that the people made him wear a face covering – thus inspiring the Timbuk 3 masterpiece, “The Future’s So Bright I’ve got to Wear Shades” (which you can click on here to watch).
But the kind of light that seems most profound to us here is the metaphorical light that was shone into our hearts when Jesus forgave us and the Spirit of God took up residence in our souls. This light, to borrow from CS Lewis, is not visible to me, but because of this light I can see everything else. Everything. Even the things I don’t want to see.
As a Christian there is the sometimes maddening reality that I can’t even sneak off and be ignorant of the things I do wrong. I have the ability to do them, I make choices to either do right or to not do it everyday, but I no longer have the opportunity to engage in rebellious activity without knowing exactly what I’m doing.
Some would say that because of this reality, it means that anytime we break the law of God we are walking away from Him. This strain of graceless theology is brutal and foundation-less because it fails to take into account the one thing that matters most: relationship.
There is give and take in committed relationships. A good marriage is not the one where both spouses are perfect all the time, but the one where mistakes can occur without fear of rejection, abandonment, or retaliation. This does not mean that actions that betray or violate or abuse are washed over or redefined, but it means that they are handled in a non-threatening way.
Even when I try to close my eyes and do what I “feel like” doing, I am unable to find a place where I am isolated and undetected. The Shepherd relentlessly pursues me even when I run. David said that there was no place on, under, or over the earth where God was not with Him – and if God was there, light was there. Like closing your eyes on a sunny day might block out the blinding glare, there is never the belief that suddenly it’s night. The light from the sun makes even the “darkness” bright.
My thoughts are somewhat scattered here, but perhaps that’s just evidence that I have encountered something that I know but have trouble believing. I, at times, wish that God was nowhere near me. It would be easier on my conscience if I could be assured that the One that my heart longs for didn’t have to endure my moments of weakness or my temporary idolatry. But that rogue desire to be alone is a misunderstanding of the way God sees me. He didn’t shine the light of His Son in and on me so that all my failures would overwhelm me and anger Him. He shined that light on me, including my faults and failures, to begin the process of eradicating those things from me.
Maybe it’s pushing the boundaries, maybe it’s not, but I believe that God loves me so much that He would do anything short of denying Himself to keep me. He never desires to push me away, to force me outside of his light, even thought that means seeing all of my blemishes. I can close my eyes, but I can never hide from His love…and love is exactly what He has for me.
Friends, all of this is true for you as well. Let us stop closing our eyes, let stop wishing we had a “safe” place where God’s eyes can’t see us. The safest place we will ever be, regardless of our condition, is as close to Him as we can possibly be.