I was shocked... shocked, I tell you, when we flipped the switches at Freeman House Saturday night. Within an instant the long, shadowy hallways were flooded with light and the brightness seemed to sparkle and dance down unpainted walls onto wooden floors. I instantly began to notice things that ... for two years... have been hidden by dark corners and poorly lit halls.
It was glorious! It was also horrifying. Having lived in a renovation for this long without sufficient light, I felt as if I was walking brand new halls. I was sure I was cooking in a brand new kitchen. But as thrilled as I was with my light-in-an-instant, I walked through rooms and flipped off switches. I had light, but with it came revelations. With the pretty light came illuminations of things I'd rather have ignored or left in dark corners: cracks, dirt, mistakes. Things that will need attending to. The beauty of the light is that I can see now! The problem with the light is... oh no, I can see now.
I think many of us - whether we're new to God or have known Him awhile - I think many of us tend to treat God as I do my new lighting. First with awe, then with hesitation, then with fear. When, finally, we are exposed to God we can be mesmerized by His brilliance. His glory. We can be spellbound by the contrasts He ushers in with His presence. Old seems new. Night becomes like day. But suddenly, as our eyes adjust, we see ourselves and our lives for what they really are. We're exposed. Where we formerly thought we were good or acceptable or pleasing, we find we are really sinners. In light of God's holiness, we see our failures and mistakes and bad judgments. We might as well be standing in a 3-way mirror with florescent lighting in a too-small bathing suit. Ugh. No thanks. So rather than face our sin-riddled lives and who we really are, we turn off the light. We avoid God. We close our Bibles. We pass up church. We forget to pray. We scoot just beyond the reach (we think) of God's bare-all light and slink back into our darkness. We came, we saw, and we're not good enough.
I don't know how many people I've heard say they plan to "find God" or "come to God" when they are more mature. When they've figured things out. Standing at the edge, just out of the light, they say: "I'll read my Bible when I can devote the proper time." Or, "I'll go to church," they promise, "when I have kids. Or when I retire." I've done it, too. I've lost precious, precious days and priceless, priceless opportunities to meet up with my Creator... to talk to my God... because I simply didn't want to deal with the sin in my life ... with the things I'd need to change... if I sought God. If I stepped into the light.
Silly us. Stupid me. Why do we wait? Why do we postpone or pass up blessings? We can't fool God. We can't hide from Him, either. And one day... one day all of us - from every race and nation ... one day all of us will bow before our Creator. One day all of us will be ushered into the light, hesitant or not. But we have a chance now to let our lives grow accustomed to the brilliance that's to come. And it's not as if God expects us to change on our own. As if God requires us to be perfect. I am continually freed by the verse in 1 John 9... the "God is Light" chapter... that says: If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Love that. I can't tell you the liberty that's given me, time and time again, to boldly step into God's brilliant presence and, bought by the blood of Jesus, ask God's forgiveness. After all, I don't have to be THE light. I just have to accept it. Seek it. Reflect it.
So if you pass by Freeman House this week, don't be surprised if you see the place lit up like a football stadium. There's a lot of light going on in this place....
Praise God, there's a lot of light going on in this place! And there can be in your life, too....
Monday Moment is a little devotional to help kick-start your week. See you again next Monday!