Sunday, March 21, 2010

Darkness and Light

Thoughts from my reading in Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy by Paul David Tripp. Devotional is indented.

For I know my transgressions.
Psalm 51:3

He'd lived in the darkness for so long he didn't know that it was dark. Dark was normal, and since he'd never experienced light, dark didn't seem dark to him. It wasn't as though he woke up in the morning praying and longing for light. And it wasn't that he had to work to accept the darkness. No, darkness was all he'd ever known.
As I think back to the time before I became a Christian in 1973 I think I always knew about the light. I was raised in a Christian home so godly values were a part of my upbringing. I tried to play by the “rules”; I didn’t want to end up in hell. But many of the rules I played by were of my own version. In reality I was living in darkness.

He had no idea what he looked like because he'd never really seen himself. He thought he knew what he looked like because he'd touched his face and run his hands down his torso, but he'd never seen himself in the light. He was actually quite content in his darkened world, and he was quite happy to do what people do when they live in a dark place. He just got up every day and did what you do when you can't see. Except he didn't know that he couldn't see, because he'd never seen, because he'd always lived in darkness.
That was the darkness I lived in too. I didn’t know what my heart was really like. I thought I was a “good” person. Yet I lived an illusion. My imagination didn’t sync with reality.

Then it happened one day. He hadn't longed for it. He hadn't asked for it. It just happened. A shaft of light exploded into his world. At first it scared and confused him. He didn't know what it was and his eyes didn't seem able to take it in. All he really knew was that it was different from the darkness he'd always known.
That happened to me on October 14, 1973 and I didn’t understand it either. I was confronted by a reality I didn’t comprehend. In some way I knew that I was a sinner. I decided I would follow Jesus whatever that meant. The journey began.

He remembers well those darkened days in that darkened place. He remembers it all with a broken and a celebratory heart. And he is very aware that not only has he been cleansed and healed, he's been given the ability to see as well. And he's deeply grateful that he's been clothed with what he couldn't purchase and that deep within him has been placed the desire to be clean.
So many years later I have a better understanding of darkness and light and I find that there is a lot of darkness left in me. On a regular basis the shaft of light reappears. Sometimes it’s during prayer, sometimes from God’s Word, sometimes it’s through another person and sometimes it comes from nowhere. In that moment I am confronted – will I leave the darkness? Will I follow the light?

Here is a question from the meditation:

What changes has God brought into your life that you need to see, to remember, to celebrate, and to pursue?
I need to remember that my life has changed. Sometimes all I can see is the dark and I forget how far God has brought me. In those times I need to remember that it’s by God’s grace that I have been changed and He’s not done with me yet.

If you want to read more about my conversion, here is an earlier post:
In World but Not Of It


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