Several years ago, I was asked to speak at a women’s retreat. Their theme was “How to Keep Growing When the Son Don’t Shine.” I struggled with this idea for a while until it struck me – the sun is always shining! We may not see it, but the sun never ceases to shine.
As for the Son, He never ceases to shine either. He IS the light of the world – not He will be nor He was – but He IS the light of the world. Always IS. Present tense. Yesterday, today and forever, He shines!!
So then, why does it seem dark sometimes?
1. One reason is because it is nighttime. At night, the earth is turned away from the sun. And when it seems dark spiritually, perhaps it is because we have turned away from Him. Have we stopped spending time with Him? Are we standing in or relying on our own strength?
The answer is simple: turn our focus back to Him, spend time in the Word and prayer, enjoy the fellowship of believers. I know I said the answer is simple, but that’s just simple for me to say. It is not always easy to do. Just take one tiny baby step in the right direction, and God will meet with us. He may ask us to keep taking those steps, but He gives us the strength to do it as we lean on Him.
“For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” (2 Cor. 4:6-7)
2. Other times, it seems dark because something is blocking the sun, like an eclipse or dark clouds. There are things that seem huge and overwhelming, but the fact is – nothing is bigger than the sun! It’s just that these issues are closer. When is your thumb bigger than the sun? When it’s right in front of your eye! These obstacles capture our attention and block our view of the Son. But if we can step back and put things in the proper perspective, they shrink in comparison.
We are engaged in spiritual warfare, and an effective enemy tactic is to distract our focus. He uses busyness, family or friend problems, work concerns, over-sensitivity, self-consciousness, financial worries, etc. to attract our attention. When we concentrate on eternal matters, the things of this world dim in comparison. Like looking through the lens of a camera, if our focus is on things nearby, those details in the background are fuzzy. When we adjust the lens, we can bring the background into crisp detail, and the close things are less harrowing.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Heb. 12:2-3)
3. Lastly, when the sun’s glare is difficult to endure, we put on our sunglasses. We can still see the sun, but it’s dimmed. And people can’t see us as clearly either. We hide behind a façade, and don’t face the issues that keep us from the light. From minor misunderstandings to serious hidden sin, we can cautiously be near God, and yet separated from Him. We put up a barrier to keep God and people at a “safe” distance.
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. God removed the barrier to the Holy of Holies signifying our new opportunity to have a direct personal relationship with Jesus.
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, then the veil is taken away. … All of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” ( 2 Cor. 3:16-18)
Oh, may we become more like Him and reflect His glory more and more!! That is my prayer for you and for me, beloved.