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Shining in Darkness

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

It was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face! The ranger guiding my family through a tour of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico made sure we had a chance to know what total darkness was like. We sat in the cool dampness of the cave deep underground in a huge room. As my eyes feasted on sparkling formations of stalactites and stalagmites, the ranger slowly dimmed the lights and then...turned them all off! I was only eleven years of age, but have never forgotten that frightening moment of absolute darkness!

When I read in the Bible, "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep." (Genesis 1:2) I identify with that darkness! And I know the release that comes with, "...Let there be light; and there was light." (Genesis 1:3). I have been describing here physical darkness and light.

More than visual brightness, however, the Greek word used here for light, "phos" figuratively means "...moral and spiritual light and knowledge which enlightens the mind, soul or conscience; including also the idea of moral goodness, purity and holiness..." (The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament, Zodhiates) God's first spoken words were meant to bring knowledge, truth and understanding, through no one other but Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word Himself!

Simeon recognized the Baby when Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem as "...a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:32)

The Gospel writer John wrote many times of this same Light. "That was the true Light which gives light to every man who comes into the world." (John 9:9) "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" (John 8:12) "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46)

We live within the span of time allotted us, between the time God spoke His first words, giving us light, all knowledge and understanding, and His final word. We are given a choice, to follow our own self-directed ways, or to follow the One who came to guide us. We may even be celebrating our own carnally-driven victories, independent of God's direction, resulting in bondage and darkness! "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19)

"Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith-the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8, 9)

In the darkness of a lost world, we will face the Judge for His final word, "Surely I am coming quickly." (Revelation 22:20) Will it be in that joy He desires for us?

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© Constance Vanides