I love trees.
All shapes, sizes, and species. There is something majestic and inviting about them. Stepping beneath the canopy of the forest, I automatically inhale deeply. As my body relaxes, a feeling of contentment embraces me, and my soul is nurtured; I am in a world of beauty designed for my enjoyment by my Beloved Lord.
One of my favorite things about any forest or wooded glade is light. Light in such a place has personality; it is always alive and full of expression. According to the time of the day, light clothes the woods in a different garment as it bathes it in life.
I love to stand and gaze about. Breathing in the atmosphere of the moment. Look! There, the light pours through the trees like the overflow of a huge pot, as it spills downwards through the leaves. And there, light dances in patterns on the floor of the forest. In some places, it falls like a swatch, or a puddle, or a splash.
Some dark and foreboding, others bright and playful, flutter lightly in the breeze. Light pours through them and, like a spotlight, focuses on one little bush, whose leaves become transparent. Over there, it highlights one little spot with mushrooms poking up through the soil, happily indifferent to being in the spotlight. And where the sunlight falls directly onto the leaves, they shimmer and sparkle like a sea of diamonds
So stately and unconcerned by the light, stand like sentinels. Some are dark and mysterious, others cheerful and gently swaying in rhythm to music only they hear. But their bark – whether rough or smooth wears patches, shadowed and bright – according to how the Light chooses to touch them.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say be alert as you walk. Shadows give depth, but that shifting shadow ahead may be a quick-moving snake. Have you ever noticed sometimes light illuminates cobwebs, causing them to glisten like strands of silver? That is delightful and you can clearly see the green spider sitting atop it. But where the light doesn’t shine, cobwebs remain invisible and lurk ready to engulf the unwary traveler – human or insect
As you walk, the sunlight plays joyfully. Like a child playing hide and seek, who unexpectedly jumps out from behind a bush and shouts with joy when you jump in mock horror, one moment, you are embraced by mellow light. The next, a beam silently cuts through the air, momentarily blinding you as it shouts with glee, “Here I am! Catch me if you can!”
And then, everything changes when the light dims, and leaves the forest in complete darkness. Unless a strong companion walks beside me and I’m holding a strong stick, I don’t wish to be in the forest at night.
Can Light Cut Through the Darkness?
Remember Genesis 1:2? Moses wrote the Spirit of God hovered, brooding over the face of deep darkness, over chaos and confusion. Destruction reigned but the Spirit encompassed it. Like a mother bird brooding over the eggs in her nest, the Spirit brooded over the dark.
Where there is no light, there is no life, no hope, no peace, no joy. But the holiness of God’s Spirit conquered that evil darkness. How do we know? Because His first creative act was to speak light into existence. Light cut through the darkness and set a boundary to contain and rule over the dark.
Have you ever longed for night to end and light to appear? You were not created to see in the dark; instinctively, you recoil in fear. But with the dawn, your heart quickens with courage. Fear has to step back. Perhaps you relax and fall asleep, for light everything changes.
There were times I personally have walked through very dark tunnels. Scary things hide in the darkness, scorpions, spiders, snakes. I remember my terror as I cried, “God. Please, bring me to the end of the tunnel.” In His faithfulness, He continues to lead me out of darkness into His glorious light where I experience His peace.
But being a victim of early childhood abuse, it took years for the knowledge that I didn’t need to earn God’s love for He freely loved me – to drop 18 inches from my head to bring comfort to my heart. He loves you, too.
You don’t want to miss this.
Remember how the Spirit of God brooded on the deep darkness? The world has gone through several dark ages. BUT in the fullness of time, as people lay in darkness and despair, He sent Light to conquer the darkness.We are moving into another dark age where we hunger for the light. A light that dances and shimmers, quickly cutting through the darkness and the pain. A light that embraces and warms us, then fills us with hope, joy, and peace, enabling us to look with eyes of love – even on our enemies.
How Do We Find Peace?
There’s a catch.
The darkness is growing even darker. Why? Scripture declares man prefers darkness to light because the dark hides their evil deeds. It is painful to come into the light. In our effort to escape pain, sometimes we just plain like the darkness for it feels comfortable, even safe.
But what if we want to find true light that brings peace and life?
David, referring to Israel, said God satisfies the longing soul; those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death He set free, breaking the bands of darkness. (Psa 107)
Isaiah spoke much of walking in the darkness, longing for the light. Then he prophesied, “The people that walk in darkness have seen a great light, they who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined.” (Is 9:2) He looked forward with expectation to the day the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind, and release prisoners from captivity and those sitting in darkness – making light before them.
Daniel, a man greatly honored by God, declared light dwells with God, He knows what is in the darkness.
God made a way where there was no way.
The verse I especially love is this. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death, Light had dawned” (Mat 4:16).
John the Baptizer bore witness of “the true Light – which gives light to every man coming into the world. The Light was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
The Light has come. The Apostle John said, “the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”
Finding Peace Is Possible
You have a choice.
I must make time to walk beneath the trees, so I may experience the blessing and peace found in that quiet place. Light is found when you find a quiet place and are still. Where do you feel peaceful? Less stressed? Choose your special place – it might be in the garden, walking along the beach, or sipping tea on your porch.
Here’s the secret.
- Invite Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to be in the moment with you.
- Take a deep breath and be still.
- Pray, “Jesus, please be LORD of my spirit. Please quiet the noise of my heart and mind with your love.”
What helps counter the darkness?
- Focus on Jesus.
- Sing: “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.”
- Singing and humming, worshiping and giving thanks are good for you. Singing or humming – especially lowers your blood pressure and helps you switch out of survival or hyper-vigilance into the rest/digest relaxation mode where you can discern the truth.
- Daily read the Bible. “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Ps 119:105).
- Confess your sins. “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. Micah 7:8
Take time to be with the Lord. Talk to Him. Discuss a Bible verse or something that lies heavy on your heart. Ask Him questions. Then listen to His reply. He speaks in a still, small voice.
If you hurry along, becoming distracted by your phone or social media – you will miss meeting with Him. He is the King of all Creation, and He deserves your full attention. He is also the Light of the world.
Right now, He longs to meet with you and shower different areas of your life with His marvelous light.
But it is your choice!
Apart from the Lord, we lack. We need light to drive away the dark, illuminate our path and guide us to experience joy unspeakable and full of glory. Such joy and peace only come by spending quality time with Jesus, walking with Him, and listening as He speaks.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world, he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12)
May the Lord illuminate your life and embrace you with His wonderful peace that passes all understanding. As you go forth to meet Him – confessing your sins and praising His name – may He be the joy and delight of your heart.
Through the tender mercy of our God;
whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.