Brightening dark days with the light of God
7 MINUTE READ
The Light of God’s Creation (Psalm 19:1-2)
The word ‘light’ in this verse can mean the light of the sun, stars, moon, lightning or even the dawning of daybreak. They are all part of God’s handiwork. The Bible says, “The heavens tell of the glory of God; and their expanse declares the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2).
Suffering with depression and painful life circumstances tempts some into believing God doesn’t exist or if He does, He’s cruel, not loving. For this reason, I feel it’s unwise for anyone suffering through depression or any other difficulty to block out the light all day. When we shut our curtains and switch off every light, we can no longer see God’s creation and evidence of His presence and care, not even trees, which Genesis 2:9 says were created not only for food but for greatly delighting our eyes.
Have you ever camped out? How awe-inspiring gazing at the stars can be! How small and insignificant they make you feel, but also valuable at the same time, knowing the God who made them and who knows the full number of them also knows the number of hairs on your head and every thought before you’ve thought it. Even looking at a 2D picture of the sun in a textbook can inspire wonder, reading of its size, its heat and its distance from the Earth. No wonder some civilisations worshipped it.
“Even looking at a 2D picture of the sun in a textbook can inspire wonder, reading of its size, its heat and its distance from the Earth. No wonder some civilisations worshipped it.”
What about lightning? It’s both a frightening and magical experience.
Or how about the sunrise? I never used to like waking up before daylight as a younger woman, arriving on time to work but not seeing the sun rise. I now love seeing the sun before everyone else and wondering what shade of orange or yellow it will paint the horizon today. Although I’ve grown accustomed to rising early, I still prefer waking in summer because then the sun rises even earlier than me, and like Ecclesiastes says, “Truly the light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 11:7).
The Light of a Lamp or Face (Psalm 119:105)
The word ‘light’ in Ecclesiastes 11:7 can also mean the light of a lamp or the light in a person’s face. Artificial light is so inferior compared to sunlight, but I know how comforting my niece finds her nightlight after waking from a terrible dream. Even as a university student living away from home, although I couldn’t afford it, I left my front door light on. That consoling, orange glow helped me feel less despondent about returning home to an empty, darkened house. Speaking of children, don’t they have the sweetest light in their eyes, especially at the age of three and four? There aren’t many people who don’t perk up when a child is present. Many couples can attest to how uplifting the sight of those baby eyes looking at you feels, melting your heart. When we close our doors and curtains and switch off all the lights, we miss out on seeing the light of a lamp and the light of a human face which can work wonders.
Rejoice in Every Day (Ecclesiastes 11:8)
Ecclesiastes goes on to say, “Indeed if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futile. Rejoice, young man, during your childhood and let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. And follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes. Yet know that God will bring you to judgement for all these things. So remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body, because childhood and the prime of life are fleeting.” (Ecclesiastes 11:8-10).
So, whether we’re suffering through an acute depressive episode evoked by excruciating life circumstances or something more chronic caused by something biological, Ecclesiastes encourages us to rejoice every day of our lives. It commands us to revel in life’s wholesome pleasures, not depriving ourselves of sunlight, food, relationships or leisure, all the while remembering God will judge us on how we’ve lived and used our talents and time. It says that although life might seem bleak now, and may have seemed that way for many days, it’s nothing compared to the darkness that’s on the way. Meaning, if you die rejecting Jesus’ offer of salvation from sin, an eternity of dark days awaits you.
The Bible says in Philippians, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). Although there’s a lot in the world that’s false, dishonourable, wrong, impure, unlovely, of bad repute and unworthy of praise, shutting the world out is not the answer. Nothing true, honourable, right, pure, lovely or praiseworthy dwells in the dark. We must let the light in. We must as Ecclesiastes 11:7 says, “Behold, the sun.” Behold can mean to look at, inspect, perceive, consider, regard, learn about, observe, watch, look upon, find out, give attention to, discern, distinguish, gaze at and look intently on – all action words which place the burden on us, not God or anyone else.
“…shutting the world out is not the answer. Nothing true, honourable, right, pure, lovely or praiseworthy dwells in the dark. We must let the light in.”
There’s a Time for ‘Dying’ Inside (Ecclesiastes 3:2)
Ecclesiastes 3 says “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven – a time to die…a time to weep…a time to mourn.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) John 12:24 speaks of a grain of wheat that falls into the earth, a place of darkness, and dies and remains alone for a time. But these verses go on to say that after this time of ‘dying’ inside, and even during it, there can come a time of new birth, laughter, dancing and of bearing much fruit. So, with God’s strength, could you begin letting the sunlight back in (which Ecclesiastes 11:7 calls pleasant)? The word ‘pleasant’ in this verse can mean agreeable to the senses, pleasant to the higher nature, excellent, good, rich, valuable in estimation, glad, happy, prosperous to a man’s sensuous and intellectual nature, good (as in kind) and good (as in ethical). Who doesn’t want to feel like that? The Bible makes it sound like light, particularly sunlight, is a wonder drug for the brain, so let’s start letting the light back in.
The Light of God (Psalm 4:6)
There is a final meaning for ‘light’ which is the light of instruction or God as Israel’s light. That’s how many have described their first experience with Jesus at their conversion. Many have said, “I have seen the Light.” There is even a people group which annually celebrates the day Europeans brought the Christian gospel to their shores, calling it ‘The Coming of the Light Festival’. Many Christians can attest to having ‘Aha’ moments while reading the Bible and while hearing it preached. Verses and sermons that come at exactly the right moment, that wouldn’t have meant as much if read or heard them on any other day. If the drapes are drawn and the lights are off in your room and your Bible’s closed, you can’t receive the light of God’s instruction found in the Bible which reflects His countenance – “Many are saying, “Who will show us anything good?” Lift up the light of Your face upon us.” (Psalm 4:6).
Come to the Light (John 3:19-21)
Ecclesiastes 11 says, “Remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10). Remove can mean turn aside, depart, avoid, take away, put away, retract, reject, abolish – more action words. These suggest that instead of taking a passive role, sometimes we can take steps at lifting ourselves above our circumstances by focusing on the positives in life and learning contentment in all situations. Ecclesiastes 11 gives an urgent reason for attempting this, “because life is fleeting.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10). There are those who have still not received God’s light, who have only many more days of darkness ahead of them.. We must not waste our time. We must share God’s light with them. As John 3 says, “We must tell them, “The Light has come into the world but people loved darkness rather than the Light for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light so their deeds will remain unexposed.” (John 3:19-21).
We must tell them that if they ask God for forgiveness and start practicing the truth, they can come to the Light. They need no longer be afraid of Him because instead of revealing wicked deeds, His light will now reveal that they have performed new deeds in God. Then, they will only have many more days of light to enjoy in eternity rather than the dark days they suffered through here on Earth.
Tanya Tufanova is a personal care worker and aunt to one nephew and five nieces, one of whom has a chromosomal disorder and a learning disability. She enjoys sharing with others how valuable people with disabilities are and loves telling how God can forgive us of even the worst sins.
Would you like to contribute content to Luke’s Journal? Find out more…
- Literal Word app