“He called the light day, and the darkness night. So evening came, and morning came; it was the first day.” — Genesis 1:5, REB
When God creates the universe in Genesis 1, He begins by bringing forth light. We tend to understand light as being positive. God is light (1 John 1:5), Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12), and we are called to be children of the light (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We get it: light is good.
But life isn’t all light and sunshine.
There is darkness in this world, both physically and in a spiritual sense. We experience pain, suffering, violence, and oppression. People starve, fall ill, are attacked, make mistakes, and leave us too soon every day.
Darkness is often portrayed in Scripture and religion as the enemy. It is the sign of evil, ignorance, and suffering. Yet all God makes in Genesis 1 is called “very good,” and in the initial verses God doesn’t eliminate darkness.
Darkness is kept, named, and maintained as an ever-present aspect of reality. As such, it is part of God’s “very good” creation. We may not like it, it may hurt, but it’s also how we are aware of light.
When a light is turned on, shadows immediately emerge. This is a law of life. What we know as “good” and “evil” are only definable in the context of each other. Both are necessary for wisdom in life.
Sitting in silent worship last night, I looked at my candle and asked for Christ to teach me wisdom. What I received was a message I have needed for a long time.
You see, I hated my darkness. I have a past, and though I’ve accepted that it happened, I hadn’t accepted that the person I am today doesn’t deserve to constantly be punished for that past… until last night.
What came to me was, “You cannot be the better man you are now if the worse man had never been.”
Have I made mistakes? YES! But paying for those and learning from them has led me to a place in which I am proud of the person I am now. I am not perfect by any means, but I am learning to love myself, and my love for others is enhanced because of it.
This couldn’t be the case if not for my darkness. The same is true for you and for all of humanity. Our darkest moments help highlight (and even produce) our greatest ones. Does this mean we strive to promote evil so that good may come? Of course not!
Rather, this message should serve as a reminder that where darkness is, light is close at hand. By the same token, where there is light, shadows fall. Therefore, we should neither be hopeless or complacent, but ever watchful for what God is calling us to.
Peace be with you!