Almost every day, I’m awake well before the sun rises, with a cup of coffee and a book or game, working on waking up very slowly as dawn breaks. There’s comfort in the sunrise; to know a new day is beginning, to know the Lord has blessed me with another day. That quiet start of the day always seems to offer a chance of solemn realization and thankfulness; a reflection of God driving away the night and giving us a new day.
We all know the imagery of light vs. darkness representing good vs. evil; we see it right off the bat as God creates light in Genesis 1, calling it good. We know and often experience first hand the danger of darkness, of promises of thieves emboldened by the cover of darkness, adulterers and criminals sinning away from the eyes of the world, of being blinded to the world around us and lost and confused. It’s easy to see the contrast in this of the light too; the world around us revealed again, the possibilities of a new day, the beginning of a new journey and new work to be done.
It’s important in these reflecting moments to think of, as Amos describes in Amos 5:8, “he who turns blackness into dawn.” To make it easily understandable for us, the Bible paints our experiences with sin as being trapped in a deep darkness, our sight of God obfuscated. It’s as Jesus says in Matthew 8:12 – “The subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Or in John 11:10 – “It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.” When sin surrounds us, we are as if trapped in a deep darkness, without a protector to lead us. We are left helpless and hopeless, no choice but to succumb to the wages of sin: eternal death.
But just as the sun rises every day, as God turns blackness into dawn, through His grace He acts as a light, driving away our sin. For as proclaimed in 1 John 1:5-7: “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by 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, purifies us from all sin.” What a reminder to start the day with. God is perfect, flawless, free of sin; the example who’s path we can always walk in. When we try to walk on the path of our own volition, it’s just about impossible to not stumble. But God will never lead us astray into the dangers sin present.
Thinking back to the tougher times of my life, a number of my memories are swallowed by a thick darkness of sin. I remember all of the fear, the doubt, the despair, the hopelessness whenever I tried to walk on my own without God’s help. This spiritual darkness is all too present, and ready to consume those who don’t follow God’s teaching. What about in your own life – do you have a time in your life you tried to stumble your way through the dark on your own without God’s guidance? How did those moments of isolation from God’s warmth make you feel? And most importantly, how can you express that feeling of security when you returned to God’s shining grace? And how can you share that through your actions and words with those still in the darkness? For according to Jesus in Matthew 5:16, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
With God, none of us have to endure that terror. Together, through the blood of Jesus, God purifies us, frees us from darkness and sin. He turns the blackness that seals our fate into the light and purity of His holy presence. If this darkness sounds familiar, if you’re struggling without God’s light right now, know He seeks to shine in your life and in your heart again. Don’t be afraid to express your true feelings while seeking help and support from other Christians in your life. Most importantly, immerse yourself in prayer and Scripture to receive His encouraging word. For as surely as God begins each new day until He returns, He will free you from ever needing to walk that dark path alone again. As Psalm 48:14 says: “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.”