My heart pounds. My blood pressure rises. I am so afraid.
Awakened in the night by yet another dark and oppressive dream, I am paralyzed with fear. I feel an evil presence in the room, despite crying out the name “Jesus” just moments earlier upon wakening. The evil delights in the fear that is marinating in my heart. The evil assumes victory by disrupting my rest and sabotaging my energy.
I look around, moving my head as little as possible. The blankets are pulled up to my eyes. Covering me. Hiding me. “Protecting” me. My eyes are accustomed to the darkness, so I can see shadowy figures lurking. What sort of monster is that by the bathroom door? What is looming over by the closet? What is that shadow on the ceiling? I try to be reasonable, reminding myself of lamps and other harmless objects that clutter my room. But in my fear, and in the darkness, I cannot become convinced that all is well.
The darkness is deceptive. I know that it lies to my eyes, and yet I am afraid to do anything about it. Even though I am afraid, hiding under the blankets brings me comfort and control. Maybe I will just wait this way until the light comes to me. The breaking of dawn, or even someone coming to check on me, will solve my problem. Yet, should I let the enemy win by wasting all this time in sleepless fear? I have access to light. Just over there, across the room is a switch.
I can choose to shed light on my situation. I can call upon light to illuminate and dispel the shadows—leaving me with only truth to see. But the heaviness of the blanket gives me comfort. Not because I actually think it will protect me, but because I have grown used to the weight and pressure it puts on me.
But I cannot confuse the comfort of the blanket for peace. Familiarity does not equal peace. I will not find peace without the light, because I will continue to fear what I think I see.
I need the light. I need light to see the truth. I must shed my comfortable blanket and cross the room to the switch. Can I find the strength and courage?
I slowly extract my limbs from the blanket, exchanging that physical comfort for the Comforter Himself. I shakily sing aloud, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Over and over I whisper the hymn, allowing the light of His glory and grace to illuminate my heart despite my dark surroundings.
I tentatively bring my toes down to the carpet and then suddenly leap across the room. My bed and blanket held comfort, but no peace. Jesus’ presence brings me both. I hit the switch, and my eyes are filled with truth. No more misunderstandings of what I see; I have clarity of vision. I can rest in the truth of the light.
Darkness is deceptive. It lies to our eyes. The enemy whispers to us, “This trial is going to harm you. Be afraid.” But when we allow the Lord to shine His light upon our situation, we instead see how God is using everything to refine and shape us. The darkness makes an object look like a threat, the light reveals that it is a tool. The light reveals truth.
Darkness is deceptive. It lies to our eyes. The enemy whispers to us, “Here is a fellow sheep that you can trust. Just a harmless sheep.” But the light reveals the bared teeth of a wolf underneath the woolen disguise. A trap is easily hidden in the dark: the light reveals truth.
Seeking God’s truthful light often requires us to relinquish the familiar comforts we are holding onto. We must shed the lies we have draped ourselves in, even though they felt like protection when we put them on. We must shed the fear of what we might see in the light, understanding that seeing even uncomfortable truth, is better than staying ignorant in darkness. We must also shed our expectations of what His light will reveal, so that our vision will be unhindered to accept the truth He wants to show us. The more things of the flesh we can shed, the greater the capacity of our hearts to accept the Light that is shed.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” John 8:12
Jesus is the Light that came into the world. As His light was shed onto the world, His blood was shed for all of the people in the world. If He was willing to endure the persecution, ridicule, torment, and pain that allowed Him to shed His blood on the cross, what am I willing to shed? What is there in my life that I need to shed in order to honor His sacrifice and walk in His light?
When I keep a perspective like that, I cannot help but become humbled and ashamed by the things I allow to stay in darkness. I cannot help but be convicted of what comforts I choose to hold onto at the expense of seeking the True Comforter. Remembering what Jesus shed motivates me to bring the hidden parts of my life into the light. When those parts stay in the dark shadows, I am easily deceived. But the light reveals truth.
What about you? Is there anything in your life that brings you fear because you can’t see it clearly? Is there anything in your life that you are holding onto that you have been convicted to let go of? God is so patient and full of grace. Ask Him to help you find the strength, courage, and motivation to let His light shine in every corner of your heart. He sees everything anyway, in spite of our efforts to hide. Letting His light illuminate your situation isn’t for His benefit—it’s for yours! Ask Him to help you see things as He sees them, from His Heavenly perspective.