Light! ... Sunbursts of Light!
For us Northern Californians, the past two weeks have been smokey. Unbearably smokey. We all feel cooped up with doors and windows shut against the choking smoke and ash. Voices are scratchy. Clothes have a perpetual campfire smell. So much so, that I have been fighting a Pavlovian urge to make s'mores.
The smoke has changed the light of the sun. We wake up to an eerie orange glow that stays for the whole day. The light makes my eyes sting and I have to squint even with sunglasses on. The scientist in me wonders what the smoke is doing to the rods and cones in my eyeballs, causing me to squint in the diffused light of day.
It's not just the color of the sky. There is a strange tone to the light everywhere. My body senses that it's not normal, not safe. I feel tense, or anxious. My mind plays scary-movie music in my head, a silent soundtrack to the light surrounding me. The danger must be around the next corner!
But it's not. The danger is two mega-fires, hours away.
And so, of course, I've been thinking about light. How light reveals what is hidden by darkness. How crystal-clear light reveals what is distorted by the smoke of illusion, or disillusion. How light comforts.
Why is that? Why do we feel comforted, relieved, and calmed by light? For me, it is because light shows me what is true. Shows me clearly the difference between what is truth and what I perceived to be truth when my vision was cloudy. Light illumines.
I've come to realize that the smoke in my life is often of my own creation. I focus on the wrong things: my cough, my child's disobedience, my husband's job situation. It's all smoke. It's making me squint and see only a piece of the truth. I miss the full picture.
The truth is that God is in control. His presence is with me. With my child. With my husband at work. When I open my eyes fully to that truth, I am always calmed. My heart pulses freely with peace. Peace that flows from my Father. That drenches my fragile soul.
Lately, I've been allowing the smoke to permeate my soul. This past week, I decided to talk to God about my fears. Specifically my fear of getting sick again this winter. Will it knock me out again? Will I end up in the hospital again? Will I die this time? Honestly, I've allowed these thoughts to overwhelm me. To distract me. To distort what I know to be true.
"Never forget in the dark, what I learned to be true in the light."
I wrote those words in my Bible back in 1996 while at college in Texas. I remember exactly where I was when I wrote them down. This week, I decided to listen to my 20-year old self. When I did, Isaiah 9:2 broke into my head like a siren.
The people who walked in darknesshave seen a great light.For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light!~ Isaiah 9:2 (The Message)
God brought that verse and two conversations to me this week to blow the smoke out of my soul. Just like that, light broke into my soul. It cut right through and pushed the deep shadows of fear away. That verse is a prophecy about the birth of Jesus, the Light. About how, when he comes, he will break into the darkness of a lifetime of humanity stuck with the consequences of sin. That's deep darkness. The Light is a PERSON! And he came. And he is still alive. Still present. Still shining.
I know I will likely get sick this winter. That truth has not changed. But my fears HAVE changed. God will be with me. He reminded me that I have made it through sickness before. I can do it again. His promises to be with me, to comfort me, to carry me... those are all truth. Truth that was cloudy. Truth that is crystal-clear to me again.
There is a quote from the movie, Lake House, where an architect is explaining the importance of light.
"You know as well as I do that the light in Barcelona is quite different from the light in Tokyo. And, the light in Tokyo is different from that in Prague. A truly great structure, one that is meant to stand the tests of time never disregards its environment. A serious architect takes that into account. He knows that if he wants presence, he must consult with nature. He must be captivated by the light. Always the light." ~ The Lake House
I love the idea that light changes how we view things. And I love the idea of being captivated by light. When I am captivated by something, I seek it. And treasure it. I get obsessed with it.
I want to be captivated by the light of God's truth. This week, I refuse to let the smoke of doubts and fears distort the truth of God's love for me. All I want is sunbursts of light!