‘Seeing’ the Light
by Pastor Gene
“God is light” (1 John 1:5).
“In Him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John [the Baptist]. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:4-9).
Think about light.
Claude Monet, one of the most beloved of the Impressionist painters, liked to paint series of the same thing. He painted the same haystacks over and over, or the façade of Rouen Cathedral, or the famous waterlilies that dotted his pond at his house at Giverny.
Monet would paint these subjects at different times of the day and at different times of the year. The haystacks he painted in the morning looked nothing like the ones he painted in the afternoon or at twilight, but they were the selfsame ones. The haystacks he painted in the spring bore little resemblance to the ones he painted in the winter – same haystacks nonetheless.
The weather had changed, sure. But most importantly, the light had changed. In the modest hours that Mary and I spent at Giverny, the artist’s pond/picture seemed to change a hundred times!
All of the great painters were understandably fascinated with light: Turner, Veronese, Tintoretto, and, of course, Van Gogh. It’s been said that ‘Gauguin loved the light, but Van Gogh loved the sun.’ Makes sense, Gauguin the savage was far less concerned with the source of things than was Van Gogh, the troubled former-pastor.
To our eyes, the light is constantly changing. To sit on the shoreline and watch the sun sink into the horizon is to witness this in technicolor. The light falls in packets, painting everything upon which it falls in a cadmium yellow that morphs into a gold sheen that turns to alizarin crimson and, finally, a thousand blue/grey shades of twilight. And it all happens within an hour.
The light effects everything it touches. It effects brightness and contrast, temperature, hue and tint.
As you read these words light is affecting your room, your space. No part of your life is unaffected by it. And each day is touched by a different light, a personal light.
And, do you know what? God is light.
Every part of my life and yours has been touched by Him. The temperature of my day, the color of my routine, the brightness of my spiritual walk.
His sovereign hand has been coloring my days and lighting my path all my life, but I often miss it. I often miss the Painter’s handiwork. I take His astonishing palette for granted. I fail to perceive that the brushstrokes that decorate the amazing sky/canvas each evening are put there by the One who says He loves me. And that the light that ignites it from behind – blasting its energy through a billion colors – is the One who calls me His friend.
O, the glory of the Creator of all things!
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be.
And there it is: the natural result of becoming aware that God shines His light upon each moment of each day is … awe.
In Psalm 148, the psalmist calls upon all that the Creator has created to praise Him in awesome wonder!
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord!
For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his majesty is above earth and heaven.
Did he forget anyone? It’s a call for all of God’s creation to offer to Him the praise He deserves as the great Artist/Creator.
But, more than just creating, God also watches over all He’s created – especially us. His light touches my every moment, colors all that passes before my eyes. This is shocking, really. After gazing at the glory of the heavens, King David wondered why God would even give humankind a second thought (Psalm 8:4). But He does!
The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
God not only sent Jesus – the life who was the light of men – into the world, but He invites us to walk in His light.
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,” John wrote, “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).
So, if I embrace the Light today – walk in it, see it coloring each moment – I’ll experience true fellowship with the Almighty. Furthermore, I’ll experience continual cleansing, true catharsis. As I walk with Him He keeps on cleansing me of the dust that clings to my feet.
What can we say to such wonderful things? Only, “Praise You, Lord Jesus!”
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the godly! …
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
Let the godly exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their beds.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats!
(Psalm 149:1, 3-6a)
Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
I think we get the picture. Once we become aware of the Light that illumines our lives, we have choice but to make some noise about it.
So, let everything that has breath MAKE A PRIASE NOISE HERE!
- There’s an old expression, ‘I finally saw the light.’ I think ‘seeing the light’ with respect to God is twofold. First, we see the light when we first come to faith in Jesus Christ. That is when the light of salvation shines upon us. Second, we ‘see the light’ after we’re saved as we come to understand how God is shining His light upon us each moment of each day.
Do you take God’s daily light for granted? Are you generally aware of His presence?
Think of a time in your life that was extraordinary, perhaps traumatic or especially joyful. Try to think of how God was shining His light upon that situation.
Now think of a routine day – yesterday, perhaps. Can you see God’s light in that day? Is it harder for you to see God’s light in the mundane than it is in the extraordinary? Why do you think this might be?
- What thoughts come to mind when you consider God as watching you, looking down from Heaven and observing your deeds (Psalm 33:13-15)?
Do you find this refreshing? Encouraging? Terrifying?
Does it make you feel anxious? Tranquil?
What do these feelings tell you about your walk with God?
What do they tell you about yourself?
- Do you agree that “the natural result of becoming aware that God shines His light upon each moment of each day is awe”?
What does ‘awe’ look like to you?
How does it manifest itself in your life?
- Do you regularly ‘make a praise noise’ to your God? Can you think of a good time to start?
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