Time For God: June 2

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: Genesis 1:3: Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

It was one of the most beautiful images I had seen. As a young student I attended an art show. There it was—framed. From its prominent place in the gallery, it gazed down; it called to me. What was it? A hen’s egg! It perched in a white ceramic eggcup. Nothing unusual for sure—yet, the photographer’s skill elevated a humdrum breakfast to become a remarkable objet d’art.

Set in a lightless location, the artist placed a single lit candle nearby. The gentle flicker—and long exposure technique—exposed the egg’s finest textures. The eggshell’s every pore basked in the candle’s gentle light. The egg’s near side lit up warmly. Like the moon, its dark side lent maximum contrast to the egg’s surface. Its reverse side faded to black. An exquisite study in light and shade prevailed. Was this simply a timid egg, or a primeval planet soaring within a dark universe? The artist’s careful simplicity offered a stark image evoking strong emotions.

In like manner, Vermeer, the Dutch master of light and shade brings his subjects to life. They emerge from background shadows. So too, Nairobi’s afternoon sun falls horizontally across trees and buildings. It maximizes the visual contrast. Spot-lit aspects offset deep-shadowed darkness. The acid light of truth reveals falsehood within shadows. Darkness flees the light.

God, the Eternal Artist—Creator of all we see and all we cannot see—shines warm light into the cold gloom of cosmic nothingness. His light, shed abroad, illuminates those hidden places of the human heart. He reveals dark, secret motivations fraudulently moving us along a broken path. His light and my darkness—the contrast is absolute. His rescue is sure, His remedy complete. He speaks light into the darkest corner of my being …and suddenly there is light indeed! His light scatters my darkness; His love dispels my fear. His speaks “Light!” and a prisoner is set free!
Where does the fear of your own darkness hold you as a prisoner? Are you ready to invite the Holy Spirit to bring you to repentance, out of bondage and into freedom? How might you choose to step into the warm light of Christ? What freeing word can you offer a friend today?

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really I know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I will do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
 Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p. 89.
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