LIVING IN THE LIGHT
“…98, 99, 100. Ready or not, here I come.” If you are familiar with the classic game of ‘hide and seek’, you would know the scurrying footsteps that set these words into motion. Back when I was little, this game was very popular among all the kids who lived in the vicinity of our neighborhood. Needless to say, we were also a very competitive bunch, so every game meant the discovery of a new hiding spot. The dingier the spot, lower the probability of not getting caught by the ‘seeker’.
Metaphorically, I see this extending to my spiritual life as well. When I turn to the pages of sacred scripture, I notice that this impulse to frantically hide from the One who seeks, shows up in the very first book of the Bible itself. Genesis 3:8 tells us that Adam and Eve hid among the trees of the garden when they heard the voice of the Lord. An interesting detail that struck me recently as I read this verse again was that God called on them in the cool of the ‘day’. The sunlight and the Father of Lights were both out gleaming in the garden, while man crawled around in search of a dark hiding spot. Even in his fallen state, man couldn’t deny the power of the One who was calling out to Him.
Children of the light
The Bible fittingly calls us ‘children of the light’ (1 Thessalonians 5:5). However ‘unseen’ or ‘safely hidden’ the darkness may make us feel, we will never be at rest because we are created for the light. We are created to expose the darkness. We are created to see and be seen. Even to consider a simple game like the one above, we know that at some point, one has to get out of their hiding spot to determine their victory.
Darkness, however overpowering, cannot sustain us because there is something stronger – Light.
We know this to be true when we see a single ray of sunlight light up everything in its path, or when we see a single match flare up a dark room. We see the same in the Garden of Eden – nothing could be hidden in the presence of the Light of the world.
When we think about darkness, there is often a misconception to associate it only with those who are caught up in loose living; those involved with substance abuse or perhaps those actively into pagan practices and so on. As a result, there is often a danger to think that we are better off because we either do not indulge in such or we do a better job at hiding what we do. Having worked with youth ministry for a while now, I am thankful for the many ways my eyes have been opened to how darkness creeps into our lives so subtly from a young age. I see now, how I can fall prey to gossip and negativity because I choose the comfort of lurking in the shadows of opinions and judgment. Living in a virtual space with easy access to a large pool of media streams, I see how easy it is it to be swayed by what the internet has to offer. The darkness often seems so easy in comparison to the hard work that living in the light involves.
As I think about my own response to light, two scenarios come to mind. I can’t sleep with light in the room and so every night I ensure that the curtains are tightly shut to avoid the glaring sun that seeps in at the early hours of dawn. On the other hand however, I love for my desk space to be well-lit. And so one of my daily morning routines include opening wide those very same curtains.
Why do we find ourselves in this dilemma? On one hand, we shut ourselves from the blazing presence of Light and yet at another, we are fully dependent on its radiating providence? Pondering deeper on this question, I am brought to the realization that it is not the light that changes how harshly it invades my private space, rather it is what the light reveals, that determines my disposition to that of invitation or rejection. From face filters to cosmetic surgeries, aren’t we living in a world that will go to great lengths to ensure that none of our flaws are exposed? From non-reflective screen guards to watching our screens past bed time, aren’t we constantly and privately indulging into that which we would not want to be publicly associated with? Like our forefathers, our sinful nature instills within us a sense of fear causing us to flee into hiding. Isn’t this consequently the very nature of sin which causes us to turn away from God who is Light Himself?
Bathed in Light
Yet, the good news is that it is Light and not darkness that has the final word. He who spoke into the void of darkness at Genesis, also triumphed above it. Not only is His measure of Light limitless, so is His love, that casts all darkness, all fear away (1 John 4:18).
As Mother Teresa rightfully said – “To fear is to expect punishment. To love is to know we are immersed not in darkness, but in light.”
Who better than this great Saint to look to as a fitting example of one immersed in light. An instance is told of a British journalist who filmed Mother serving at the ‘Home for the Dying’, a building with high walls and dimly-lit windows. He left with no hope of any proper recordings due to the poor lighting in that space. Yet when the documentary came through, this bewildered journalist exclaimed in his article how the home appeared “bathed in a particularly beautiful soft light.” He went on to write, “The light conveys perfectly what the place is really like; an outward and visible luminosity manifesting God’s inward and invisible omnipresent love.”
This is our Hope, that though we may sometimes squint at light or are overwhelmed by all it consumes, we are caught up in the brilliance of the One whose light and love are both freeing and invigorating. No matter where we ‘seek’ refuge, even if on bottomless seas, He will ride on wings of the dawn to bring us Home, to bring us to the Light, to bring us where we belong.
You may not always win at ‘hide and seek’, but you can never lose nor be lost with the Light of the World.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brinelle D’Cruz was raised Catholic but it took moving to a desert (Qatar) to discover the Wellspring of life. There youth ministry and deep friendships made for refreshing streams alongside salivating shawarma spots. With a degree in Architecture, her aesthetic preference is like her choice of words – minimal, which is why she believes God divinely blessed her with a life-time entertainer, her husband Daniel. They make their home in Mumbai. Connect with her on Instagram @bree.mix