Darkness suddenly swallowed up the room as though we had just been devoured by a mammoth beast. We sat still in his cavernous belly and waited for the monster to stir. I blinked my eyes to pierce the darkness, but in the thick silence my eyelashes sounded more like the broad, flapping wings of a pterodactyl. Someone’s stomach growled and we jumped out of our skin. “The power went out,” someone explained, and like typical adults we laughed our way out of our hole of humiliation. After blindly groping my way to the kitchen, I flipped on the useless light switch and pretended I was merely confirming the fact that we were indeed without power. We called the power company to report the outage, not because we couldn’t really survive without electricity, but we were all secretly petrified of darkness. Adults spend so much time trying to encourage children not to be afraid of the dark, when sometimes we’re merely trying to convince ourselves.
In the beginning God decided there had to be light. Maybe He looked around at the vast darkness of the universe and noticed, “Wow, this is really booooring.” When the angels started constantly bumping into each other, He knew something had to be done. But when God wanted light, He didn’t flip on a light switch. Unlike man, there was no bulb to replace, no muttering under his breath, no trip to the hardware store to buy more bulbs, along with a new power tool that he would never use but was on sale for a limited time only. No, when God wanted light, He spoke it into being. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Even Thomas Edison, the lighting Wizard of Menlo Park, could not achieve such a feat. It took Edison several hundred tries to perfect the light bulb, but God lit the entire world with four words.
Our ancestors were far more impressed with light than we are today. When was the last time you saw someone turn on a lamp and gasp in amazement at its power? In olden days, the work of agrarian societies came to a halt as soon as the sun went down. They must have discovered that scythes were too dangerous in the dark, and crops planted at night grew in ridiculously crooked rows. Unable to rely on light switches and flashlights, they were completely dependent on God for their light. Nowadays the importance of light is recognized when the power goes out and we stub our toes on the coffee table.
By the mid 1980s someone had invented a device called The Clapper™. This sound-activated electrical switch allowed people to turn lights on with only a clap of their hands. Suddenly people all over the world were singing, “Clap on! Clap off!” and relishing their new authority. They thought, “Oh, the thrill of finally being in control of something! The power is so intoxicating!” But the power was fleeting, and God had the last laugh. The Clapper could also sometimes be triggered by coughing, a dog’s bark, or loud appliances. Consider how awkward this would have been for God if the heavenly hosts sang praises and clapped joyfully during creation and the lights went out. Let there be light AGAIN, and this time please keep the applause to a minimum. Thankfully, there was no such flaw in His design plan.
Our three young children have trouble understanding many of the Old Testament records, but the plagues on Egypt really grabbed their attention. What was most upsetting to them was not the thought of being infested with lice or locusts, but rather the Plague of Darkness. Like hungry dogs sinking their teeth into a meaty bone, they couldn’t let this one go. “But they had flashlights, right, Mommy?” What does it mean when these kids would rather have frogs jump out of their Cheerios than have total darkness and have to…(shudder) go to bed?
God considers darkness to be a plague. We often focus on the other more “dramatic” plagues, such as the Plague of Boils. You would not casually mention to a friend, “I’m fine, other than the festering boils, but I plan on going to the walk-in clinic tomorrow.” And the Plague of Flies? Our household goes after one fugitive fly with the determination of bloodhounds, so I can hardly imagine swarms of flies. The lackluster Plague of Darkness is often forgotten, but we can’t ignore the fact that God was trying to communicate something. He called for “darkness that can be felt,” knowing that it would cause the Egyptians a palpable, intensive fear; in other words, a real case of the heebie-jeebies.
What is it about the dark that is so horrible? Ask a child and you will get an honest answer: fear of the unknown. We kiss our children goodnight, turn off the lights, and leave them alone with their imaginations and vast, empty spaces under their beds. In the dark, we can’t see where we are going, what is near us, or what might hurt us. In a recent survey, I was asked, “What is under your bed right now?” An acceptable answer would have been “storage bags,” but having been influenced by my kids, I answered, “I don’t know, but now I’m freaking out.” Was something lurking down there? If I ever cleaned under the beds to begin with, I sure would have stopped at that point.
Children often develop a fear of the dark, and with good reason. Each one of my children has at some point experienced a genuine panic that something scary is “out there.” How can I blame them? Darkness has been known to play cruel tricks on the brain. When I was a child, I was convinced that Darth Vader prowled outside of my room at night. I must have illogically guessed that Darth took a wrong turn at the end of his galaxy and ended up in suburban Connecticut. I later discovered that it was only the sound of my dad snoring two doors down, but the darkness still gave me the creeps anyway. Starting in childhood, light beckons us with the comforting arms of its luminous rays. We soon realize that only light can bring us away from the darkness we fear.
God hardwired us all with a need for light, and then He lovingly supplied us with the floodlight of His Word. The Bible provides us with our daily guidance through this dark world.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
When we neglect God’s Word, we often can’t figure out why our lives are going in the wrong direction. We fall short of our goals, like a lab rat repeatedly stuck in the maze, always on the wrong side of the cheese. Why do we take so long to realize that we need to turn to God to see the light? Even when the power goes out, I turn on the light switch almost every time I enter a room. It takes me a few clueless seconds before I slap my forehead and realize why the light isn’t working. There is no power source! When we constantly trip over ourselves in the darkness of this world, the light only comes on in our minds and hearts when we finally plug into God’s Word.
Jesus was the perfect representation of God’s heart, and he was known as the “light of the world.” Now that we can’t physically see him anymore, we can’t just depend on Christmas trees to sparkle with lights. The lighting of a Christmas tree brings a true radiance to a child’s face. In their widened eyes we see a reflection of man’s natural desire to tap into the light. Every year my husband and I struggle with the tree lights. We lug the tree through the house, covering the floors with more pine needles than a forest. Our arms practically go numb trying to string the lights just right. The children wait breathlessly as we plug in the tree, and then…nothing happens. But wait! After some readjustments, we finally transform the room with dazzling lights. The kids shout and cheer and remark that the tree looks far prettier with lights than without. Don’t we all? If only we could keep our lights shining year-round.
When God said, “Let there be light,” it wasn’t just for that moment in time; He is still saying it to our hearts. He may speak to us in the form of a whisper, but this world is screaming for our light. We should be cranking up our floodlights to draw people to the heart of God. Consider how every bug in the forest is drawn to a porch light. Many unbelievers become attracted to the light shone by Christians. Unfortunately, unbelievers also become confused by Christians who swear, lie, or treat others badly. If people are already walking in darkness, what good will we do them if we are also walking in darkness? That would just be the “blind leading the blind.” When we stray from the light of His heart, we walk in darkness.
1 John 1:5-7
(5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
(6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
(7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Our kids have the right idea to despise the darkness, for it is a plague upon the soul. We are all naturally drawn to the warm and comforting light, which reflects the character of both our Lord and our Father. One glorious day, Christians will bask in this light eternally.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light…
God is so loving that He has guaranteed us a time when we will no longer have to grapple with darkness. There will be no more light bulbs or even lamps. We will no longer worry about what is lurking under our beds. Best of all, there will be no more spiritual darkness, just the light of God forever.
Until the eternal kingdom of light, we still have a responsibility before the Lord to walk in light. The good news is that this is a pleasant, not grievous, duty. He could have asked us to walk in gum or peanut butter, but thankfully He chose light. When we walk in light, our lives are blessed, and we are in close fellowship with our Lord. We have joy and peace in our hearts knowing that we are doing God’s will. How many times have we heard from our parents to turn the light off when we leave a room? I am constantly nagging our kids to turn the lights off, when perhaps I should spend more time reminding them to keep them on. When it comes to our daily walk, God says it is okay to “leave the light on” and LET THERE BE LIGHT!
 Genesis 1:3
 Exodus 10:21
 John 8:12