the light shines in the darkness

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

This sentence from John 1 has been on replay in my mind the past month. I can’t shake it, and really I don’t want to.

I’m a take it, do it, check it off, move on to the next one type of girl. Or at least, that’s how I tend to operate when I’m trying to keep pace with everyone else.

But every once in a while (and more often I hope), I get the sense that I just need to dwell. That there is more for me in this place, with these words or day or taste or smell or sight.

This verse came to mind the week before Christmas. I was looking through pictures of my trip to India, and came upon one I took at sunset. The sun’s last light is shining across the mountains, dancing across rooftops in the town nestled in the valley below. 

I thought about the darkness that many of JOYN’s artisans have lived through, and how now their stories radiate light and joy. All because light came to them in the midst of their darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 

My life radiates light for the same reason. I was darkness, and now I am a child of light. All because light came to me. It shines in my darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

As I’ve been dwelling on this verse the past few weeks, a few thoughts have come to mind:

The author writes that light shines, using present tense. Since the verses prior describe the light as the Word, which is Jesus. John tells us that the Word was with God in the beginning, so we see that light has been with God since the beginning. For all of eternity past, light shines in the darkness. And today, and tomorrow and for all eternity future, light shines in the darkness. It is the very nature of light to do so. It will never not shine in darkness while darkness still exists.

In the same way, the darkness has not overcome it. The darkness has not ever in all its existence up until this point ever overcome the light. And since the light will always shine in the darkness, the darkness has not, is not and will never overcome it. The sun always rises and drowns out the night.

To shine in darkness, the light must go to darkness. It must go to places that are hurt and broken and uncomfortable. The places where evil has a foothold. The light shines in those places and brings hope, healing, redemption and true life. The life of Jesus was spent in those places- healing the broken, and bringing restoration and hope. They were not the easy places to be, but He is the light of the world and it is his very nature to shine light into darkness.

As children of the light, as ambassadors of Christ, as people created in the very nature of God, we are called to be light in darkness as well. We are called to minister to the broken, the hurting, the poor, the fatherless, the widow. We are called to walk into places that evil has claimed and proclaim freedom and love. And we need not be afraid, for the light of life, Jesus, is with us. And the darkness has not, is not and will never overcome. The light has been, is and will be ultimately victorious.

This verse is what I want my life to be about. It could look like loving a hurting co-worker, inviting strangers into your home for a meal, moving to a crime-ridden part of town or speaking truth to a friend who is bound by lies. Regardless of the actual circumstances, I want to live as a child of light, unafraid of the darkness. I want to be a part of God’s plan to restore all things.

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