For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (verse 6)
In my teens, my family took a road trip with a tent trailer (which is a whole story in and of itself!) that included a visit to the Lewis and Clark Caverns in Montana. The rock formations (stalactites and stalagmites) were stunning, beautifully lit by powerful lights, revealing wondrous shapes and colours. As impressive as it all was, the most riveting moment was much more basic. Down there in the bowels of the earth, the tour guide gathered us all together, gave us fair warning, and then turned off the lights. I had never before experienced such thick darkness. Too thick to cut. Oppressive. We often talk about letting our eyes “get used to” the dark. But they never do. It’s a misperception. Our eyes can only ever “get used to” whatever little light happens to be there. When there’s none, darkness reigns unabated.
In recent years, I’ve taken my own kids to the same caverns. The tour guides still followed the same routine. Thick darkness still reigned.
Seldom have I been so aware of the absolute power of those first words spoken at Creation: “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). Light penetrates and pushes back the dark. It creates possibilities for life. It opens up avenues of perception that would be impossible otherwise. Lewis and Clark Caverns without light would only be a dark hole. Our world without light would be dead, cold and unknowable.
This same Creator God who spoke light into being has now spoken light into our very hearts. The “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” opens up channels of relationship with him that could never have been there otherwise. We can see him and know him. We find ourselves caught up in his glory. There is a new creation. Life pours forth.
Apart from this light-giving action of the Lord himself, there would only ever have been darkness. Indeed, the evil one, whom Paul calls “the god of this age” (verse 4), has intentionally – maliciously – blinded the minds of those stuck in unbelief so that they cannot see the light provided by the gospel of Jesus. Ever. Have you wondered why the good news, so clear to you, is so hard for others to perceive? Here’s the reason. The light is there, but the spiritual receptors have been blinded, resulting in darkness as intense as being stuck underground with no light source whatsoever.
Herein is cause for incredible thanksgiving and also passionate intercession.
Thanksgiving because we ourselves would yet be in the dark had he not spoken the liberating word: Let there be light!
Thank you, Lord, that the light of the glory of the gospel of Christ has broken over me.
Intercession because those who are perishing so desperately need that same life-giving word: Let there be light!
Please, Lord, take away their blindness. Let the light of Jesus himself pour forth – let it be seen. Open the door to the knowledge of you. Let life begin.
Pray: Take time to pray both these prayers. Thanksgiving for the light he has shed abroad in your own life. Intercession, by name, for those who don’t yet know him.