The image of light and dark as a metaphor for life has always intrigued me. My mind's illustration of this metaphor never fails to thrill me: a dark, dark, dark room. Black in the blackest way possible, so that you cannot find your way to the door. Perhaps there is a door, but you do not know. There is no way to know. You have been in the dark for so long, and it is familiar. Comfortable, even, because you have grown used to the maddening shroud. But for all its comfort and familiarity, it is not right. And you feel in your heart that there is something more than all the dark. Suddenly light! Blazing is this light, and all the corners that you knew only from bumping around are clear. The light has overcome the darkness, and there is no cranny left blind.
Jesus loved this metaphor too. He was and is and will forever be the metaphor, the light that makes sense of all the insensible darkness. Nicodemus came to Jesus during night, in curiosity muffled by secrecy, and Jesus told him:
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light..." -John 3:19-21
There it is. The wrestle that will endure til world's end. Light has come, yet the shadows are comfortable. Light illuminates. Darkness hides. Light means change. Darkness means we can do whatever we well please.
How desperately I want the light for those I love. I am not a saint. I do not live in the light every moment of every day. The struggle rears and thrashes in me too -- retreat to the dark or come out into the light. But I have seen the light. Caught the heart-rending glimpse of the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. Christ, the image of the invisible One, the radiance of God's glory.
He is the only Light I have found as Hope for the darkest hollows of this Earth.
In the slums of Kolkata, where women must sell their bodies and children beg for pennies.
In the anguish of a wife whose husband has left her for another.
In the slumped shoulders of a sixth-grade boy, whose heart is a chocked-full pot of hurt and rejection and bitterness.
And now, in the life of my young friend, who was born into a poverty I have never known, whose daily rhythm is the beat of fighting and discord and anger and lies.
I ache for her to find the Light. I pray that she will grow sick of the Dark. That she will realize she can move out of that neighborhood and into the place of Christ's presence. I do not know the depth of the dark wells she inhabits, but I imagine from the patchwork pieces of her story she spreads out before me. I want that blaze to break over her black room, and I want her to never be the same.
There is so much darkness, it is true. But oh! Is there not so much light, more than we have dared to believe?