I’m not sure when I began to become fascinated with light and dark. Maybe it was last year, the year before that, or maybe it was yesterday. I feel like it’s always been simmering below the surface waiting to make its appearance. It’s as if it has always been standing by for the chance to teach me what I didn’t know and expand what I already did.
When I was around ten or eleven years old, I learned that my imagination took me places that always landed me next to my dad’s side of the bed in the middle of the night. I knelt down as close as the bed allowed me and whispered loudly, “Dad.” In a sleepy haze, dad rolled over trying to focus. As soon as I recognized the first signs of awareness, my words spilled out in a rush. “Dad, I had a bad dream. Dad, someone is trying to get in my room. I am so scared.” My dad’s calm, gentle spirit served him well on these nights. The comfort of my dad walking me back to my bedroom made everything better.
My preteen years led me to believe that the dark was a frightening and overwhelming place to spend time. Light was not present as a way to dispel the darkness because of my limited awareness of its true purpose. I found myself cowering many a night.
When the Light Enters
Fast forward to my late teens and the glow of a campfire with kids and young adults circling around. Camp songs filled the night air–the louder the better. Smiles shone brightly in between the flames and camaraderie was born. Light and dark took on a new meaning. In that moment, I began to grasp the dichotomy of light and dark as well as the mutual benefit of both.
When light enters a dark space, the area is illuminated. Shadowed corners that once were scary became lighted alcoves that took on a new meaning. It wasn’t just the campfire experience that led me to know that the light was necessary. I discovered how light filled the dark spots from the inside out.
Light and dark need each other. When one comes to fill you up, the other comes to take away. When the darkness feels oppressive, the light lifts you up. And when one obscures your path, the other lights your way.
It is just like this with God. He draws near at the same time you begin to push away.God takes your doubt and points you toward hope. He fills a space with His presence when you feel alone. He is the light we need in our darkness and the peace that invades our very souls. Light and Dark: God's Perfect Dichotomy Click To Tweet
Let Your Light Shine
As a forty something year old, I began to build a foundation for understanding God’s creation of light and dark. When God created the world in all of its glory, light and dark were the first to appear. He said:
“Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” Genesis 1:3-5, NLT
In the act of providing the light and dark, God showed us His power and taught us how one was not born without the other. The cycle of our days need the movement from dark to light and back to dark again. The depths of our hearts also shift from dark to light and back to light again. The timeframe is very dependent on our choices, but our Father is always there to lead us back to Him.
This year I am exploring how God uses His light in us to shine brightly for others.
I scrolled back through my posts and found this is not the first time that I wrote about light. I shared words about light and shadow HERE.
Jesus is Our Light
As you are reading this, February is now here. The dark days of January are already lessening as the light pushes forward to grow our days. The first day that I noticed the sun shining past 6:00 PM was a day of rejoicing.
The light is coming.
Jesus is always with us, but the reminder of my dependence on His light renewed my spirit. Have you experienced this too in the dead of winter?
As I explore the beauty of dark and light this year, I pray I discover the innate presence of God. I hope my relationship with God grows richer and deeper.
Let’s explore light and dark together. Let’s lean into the arms of our Father and all He wants to teach us. May we begin the journey of receiving the light of Jesus as we walk out each of our days.
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.Isaiah 60:1-2
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I was raised in a home that adored the bible, and this verse in Proverbs 15:2 resonated with each of my favorite women of color. It goes like, “All who love me care for me but all who hate me despise me,” (Proverbs 15:33). This is so true! I grew up hearing Bible stories about David’s strength, wisdom, sacrifice, and his victories. How often we don’t hear these types of amazing characters portrayed in our current world? These are characteristics of light and lightness we are called to embody as human beings. However when oppression exists, when darkness rears its ugly head when a person or an institution, then they become shadows, not true reflections of what they meant to be created for. Like when one hears so many people criticizing someone for things that aren’t their fault. Or the situation where so many people look at certain topics differently than you. When there isn’t the common language and truth shared amongst us, I try to remind myself daily and I think many others, to never forget: our story has more twists and turn than any other. We do have light, and we do have darkness. Our identity is in the…
We will never appreciate the light if we never know darkness. And it is in the darkest of our lives when we get to trust God the most. I love this reminder, Mary.
Thank you for such an inspiring read.
Mary, have you read Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark? It’s transformed my thinking about darkness and light.
Yes, this book has an incredible message for us. Transformed is an apt word!
I love hearing another endorsement for the same book. Thanks for letting me know.
This sounds like an amazing book. A perfect read for this season. I will be checking it out. Have you done a book review on this book?
I love your story of whispering loudly in your father’s ear at night 😆. My girls did the same with me. Without darkness, light has no opportunity to reveal. May we always make room for the Light in our dark places.
HI Anita! So good to see you here. My dad was always the go-to person. My mom taught my brothers and myself that bit of nighttime routine at a young age. 😉 I am standing in agreement with you to always make room for the Light in our dark places.
Good evening Mary, thank you for this post. It is that time in the winter when I need to uncocoon myself. As you poignantly write, the days are getting longer, the Light is pushing through the darkness. I never thought of darkness and light as needing each other. This post helped me shift my focus from juxtaposing them to seeing light and darkness as each their own gift. May God bless you Mary.
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.I love that you heard my heart in my presentation of light and dark. I write what God lays on my heart and I do wonder sometimes if people understand it. May God bless you too.