Living light, thou wilt not have me believe anything dark of thee! Thou wilt have me so sure of thee as to dare to say that is not of God which I see dark, see unlike the Master! All men will not, in our present imperfection, see the same light; but light is light notwithstanding, and what each does see, is his safety if he obeys it. In proportion as we have the image of Christ mirrored in us, we shall know what is and is not light. But never will anything prove to be light that is not of the same kind with that which we mean by light. The darkness yet left in us makes us sometimes doubt of a thing whether it be light or darkness; but when the eye is single, the whole body will be full of light. To fear the light is to be untrue. No being needs fear the light of God. Nothing can be in light inimical to our nature, which is of God. All fear of the light comes of the darkness still in those of us who do not love the truth with all our hearts; it will vanish as we are more and more interpenetrated with the light. In a word, there is no way of thought or action which we count admirable in man, in which God is not infinitely better. Jesus is our savior because God is our savior. God will comfort and console his children better than any mother her infant. The only thing he will not give them is leave to stay in the dark. He gives what his child needs—often by refusing what he asks. If his child says, “I will not be good; I prefer to die!” God’s dealing with that child will be as if he said, “No, I will not give you your own will, but mine, which is your one good. You shall not die; you shall live to thank me that I would not hear your prayer.”
THE LIVING LIGHT
by Dave Roney
There is, beyond the obvious, a dramatic difference between Light and Darkness. Both are real, but of the two only light is both real and a thing (“thing” used here as a synonym for “actual being”). That which is only real is dependent upon something other than itself for its reality; that which is real and a thing is without dependency on any external factor for its being. Many examples could be given; the truth is truth without a lie being necessary for its being, but a lie can only exist in the absence of truth, and heat exists and produces the same Btu's regardless of the surrounding temperature, but cold exists only when heat is not present; likewise, goodness is good in its own right, of itself, but evil only is possible when goodness is missing; or death itself, it is real but only real in the absence of life, for where life is present death cannot be, etc.
Therefore, darkness, being real but not a thing, is dark indeed; but when light, which is both real and a thing, is introduced into the darkness the darkness is destroyed—for it lacks actual being. Contrariwise, whether it be the brightest star in the heavens or the smallest candle on earth, in neither, and in no, case does darkness hold any power over the light produced. Darkness does not flee from light, isn't driven back by light, but is completely obliterated by light so that, where light reaches it, no trace of darkness remains. And darkness holds no power, no influence, over light such as light holds over darkness.
Accordingly, let us for a moment consider our verse; “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” God and darkness are real, but of the two only God is both real and a thing (i.e., has actual being). Now, in a room where there is light there are also shadows, which are darkness, and their presence has not to do with the efficacy of the light, nor the quality of it, but with the amount of light. And if the room is completely bathed in light from every direction the darkness is completely destroyed; there are in such case no lingering shadows, no trace of darkness. And when our verse says to us that “God IS light” the meaning is more than the words convey; for the Light that God IS is entire, effulgent, pure, unadulterated, reaching to every corner of existence, and perfect to the infinite beyond all degrees. Thus, “in Him is no darkness at all.” And by that MacDonald begins:
“Living light, Thou wilt not have me believe anything dark of Thee! Thou wilt have me so sure of Thee as to dare to say that is not of God which I see dark, see unlike the Master!”
The sun blinds by its midday glory, but when obscured by a lunar eclipse that light is diminished; it is not itself diminished, but to the beholder; and for those only a short distance outside the area eclipsed the sun, for them, blazes in its undiminished brilliance. And the eclipse may be likened to the scales which cover the eyes of men, some who seeing do not see and others who do see but only partially:
“All men will not, in our present imperfection, see the same light; but light is light notwithstanding, and what each does see, is his safety if he obeys it.”
As with any analogy, that of the sun and the eclipse breaks down under scrutiny. For, the sun is not light but a collocation of atoms and plasma and gases which produce photons, whereas God actually and really IS light, therefore “Living Light.” And if God is light, then Christ must also be light; for Christ Jesus is the effulgent radiance of God's person and the exact representation of Him in His nature. Interestingly, the word translated as the “exact representation” or the “exact imprint of God's nature” comes from a word which was used to signify the impression made by a signet ring in wax; the impression made was exactly like the ring head that made it, and so is Christ exactly like His Father. One might well say that Jesus is the “mirror image” of His Father, and MacDonald's next line reads:
“In proportion as we have the image of Christ mirrored in us, we shall know what is and what is not light.”
To a man completely blind, there is no difference to him between day and night, light and darkness; but to the sighted man, whose electric power fails him at night, and he is suddenly set astumble in his house, there is to him a stark contrast drawn between light and darkness. So also concerning humanity's spiritual estate. St. John says “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; but men loved darkness more than light...” Why do men love the darkness? Because they are like unto cave dwelling creatures, long cut off from light, living in the darkness and finding, if they but had the faculty to suppose, darkness is natural to them. When Christ came the saying came to pass; “They that walked in darkness have seen a great light!” And unlike any other light, this light seen is a Person; the Light flows from Him, but also is Him; Christ is the Living Light!
“No being needs fear the light of God. Nothing can be in light inimical to our nature, which is of God. All fear of the light comes from the darkness still in those of us who do not love the truth with all our hearts; it will vanish as we are more and more interpenetrated with the light.”
Men love darkness and fear the light; how foolish of us! But even our sun begins each day gently, with blue gray streaks turning to pink and bronze, then the early rays peak over yon hills, bathing the world in golden rays to herald the dawning day. The eyes of man, accustomed to the night, are given time to acclimate to the light, and so also God often works in the darkened chambers of man's heart. His light lights every man who comes into the world, first penetrating our hearts then interpenetrating us, bringing us into union, into relationship, with Him as a loving Father with His loving children. Our sun takes time to rise till midday brilliance, and this Son of God, the Living Light, rises also as the Daystar of our salvation, and not ours only but that of the whole world.
And one man may, as was the case of St. Paul, see this Living Light in a blinding midday flash of brilliance, but God also works through time and circumstance, at times almost imperceptively, to draw, to drive, to woo, His children home. How He works is not our concern, only that we are sure He is working, and doing His best for our best. And that “best” may not look at all like the “good” that we sometimes desire, for life is hard, and so also is the Way. The ordeal of a man may cause him to say “Better had I never been born” and thereby, as a rebellious and stiff necked son, say: “I will not be good; I prefer to die!” But God's dealing with His child will be as though He said;
“No, I will not give you your own will, but Mine, which is your one good. You shall not die; you shall live to thank Me that I would not hear your prayer.”
And if a man, preferring darkness over light, wills to do his own will, and thinks that in the misery it brings him he can end his darkness through death, even at his own hand, he is happily mistaken; for beyond the veil he shall see the Living Light which he ignored and refused in this life, see that Light more clearly than ever he could in this life, and that great Light will do much to drive from him even the shadows of his darkness. For, while his darkness is real, the Living Light is Actual Being, in Whom there is no darkness, and by Whose Light all darkness must, as Death itself, die...