In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
-Genesis 1 1-4
The setting sun shines through the clouds turning them purplish pink. The rising sun peeks over the horizon just starting to shed it’s light on a brand new day. Light that comes and light that fades away. Light that brings beauty and hope. Every time I see the sunrise and sunset, which are my two very favorite times of the day, I’m reminded of God and his light. And how he is light and nothing can overcome it. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” -John 1:5. I study these words and meditate on them and allow them to sink deeply into my soul. I pray over my kids each morning asking them to be the light. To be rainbow in someone’s cloud that day. To light up the dark and broken places. I long for Matt and I to have light creep out of us as we go throughout our days. No striving, just simple light.
We have been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible each night before bed. As I read it is a reminder to my soul that there are no winners and losers in God’s kingdom. No one is in or out. Everyone just is. Everyone is HIS. His creation. His love. He created us and he lost us, but he pursues us and rescues us back to him. Even if the soul seems dark, there is light shining through the broken heart. We all long for our creator. Our Abba Father. Some just run longer than others. This story, this beautiful story of a father’s love for his children, it stirs up in me a joy, an unending joy. Because it’s not our job to fix people we love. Or make them do something. We have one task and that is to love. Love recklessly, love freely, love with pure joy.
I think about my children and my husband. And how no matter what they have done, he, an earthly father, would pursue them back to him. Over and over. We speak it over them each night. You know Jesus loves you right? You know it’s unconditional right? A no matter what love right? If you mess up, he still loves you, always and forever. Because that’s the true gospel. And if we as mere humans pour this truth onto our children, how much does the holy of holies, infallible God lavish us with this truth, this love.
So this bright bright beacon of light, this God that never gives up on us, this truth that is always the same, it’s always there, always shining. Why then do we seem to be so afraid of darkness, of brokenness? Maybe the real truth is, what the world sees as broken and out of reach, what the world is afraid of, this darkness, is what actually heals us and makes us new. Maybe it’s not so much about us bringing the light as much as it is about the light chasing us and we become born again and again and again into the light over and over and over. Pete Rollins says that by entering into the brokeness we are born again. And we should give our lives to such pursuits. On my walks these days, I see beautiful trees with golden leaves. Each leaf lit up by the sun’s rays. I see a tree that is not dying, but being reborn. Going through change and mess in order to be born again. To be made new. May we do the same. Over and over again. Allow the brokenness to minister to us, to make us new.
The homeless man, the crack addict, the inmate on death row, the starving child in Africa, the rambunctious foster child, the single mom, the “hoodlum” with his pants hanging low, the black lives matter movement, the LGBT community, the alcoholic, in each of these is found beauty and brilliance. A darkness penetrated by God’s holy light. God’s grace poured out. His love is so deep and so wide and long in all of these places. But it’s easier to run to our comfortable homes and lives rather than embrace the beauty in the brokenness. It’s easier to hide behind church walls rather than follow the holy spirit’s leading. Because I promise you that if you follow your heart you will end up chasing after every single one of these things. Every.single.one. You will long for the margins and the mess more than your comfort and your bible studies. Jesus spent his time ministering to the darkness, shining his light in these broken places. We are called to that too. To be broken and poured out over and over. Because the light shines the brightest in the darkest places.
I once listened to a friend say that Jesus would be living with the drug dealers, the addicts, the ones living in dysfunction. That that’s where we should be if we are really living like Jesus, right in the thick of it. And sometimes the church, the ones who say they love Jesus don’t respond that way, we don’t love freely and radically, instead we puts on a cloak of holy and ignore and judge those we deem to be on the outside. This attitude chases people away from church doors, from Jesus, the very light who loves unconditionally. What if the messy broken places that we run from are actually the one thing that saves us? What if the messy broken places turn out to be the ones filled with the most light and the most joy and where God is working in the greatest of ways.
We are never meant to hide the light inside of us. And we all have it. Souls that illuminate. Let’s shine brightly with each other, for each other.
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:13-16
The kids and I stood in our driveway underneath the stars marveling at the beauty they bring and the way they light up the night sky. The stars whispered to us that we need not fear the darkness, the broken places, because the light has overcome the darkness. Go mighty warrior, shine your light, be brave for Jesus and never fear the darkness.