The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
What is light without darkness?
“Look at the stars, Mom!” my daughter whispered loudly, as we walked outside near our house. I had returned from the US just a few weeks before, from what was the hardest, saddest trip I had ever made. We had lost our nephew tragically; months later, I still do not have words for the depth of collective pain both felt and witnessed in those weeks following, or for these current days.
I looked up, mirroring my daughter’s face. The stars were bright tonight, the winter air dry and crisp and cold, our breath coming out in little puffs. Cause out here in the dark, underneath a canopy of stars, constellations falling from your heart, promise me I’m not alone, cause I’m feeling so very alone… these words from Ellie Holcomb’s song had filled my ears on those long flights, echoing the silent screams in my head as I was suspended over an ocean between my grieving families.
“Yes, they’re so beautiful,” I murmured back, squeezing her hand. If it weren’t for the darkness, never would we witness the glory of these bright and burning balls throughout our galaxy. Would I rather there just not be the darkness? At that moment, yes. And yet he created them both. In the darkness, he gave glorious, beautiful, billions of bodies of light. Humans of all time have looked up in the night, just as we were now, and appreciated the miracle. Did God have to create stars, these sources of lovely light in our night sky? Do they exist only for his glory and our beauty?
We know now that stars are vital for the existence of life, particularly our largest star, the sun. Without it, all life on earth would be exposed to cosmic radiation; without photosynthesis, all plants, animals, and humans would die. Life could not be sustained on earth without stars. Even in the night, God is sustaining our very lives through the physical proximity of earth to the sun.
I held my daughter’s hand as we walked slowly home, both of us quiet, in our own thoughts. The stars are essential for the continued existence of our physical lives, and a source of beauty, comfort, and direction in the darkness of night. In him was life, and this life was the light of men…the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. As long as there has been darkness, longer has there been the true Light. Has the darkness not overcome us, though? Looking at the world some days, it is hard to say. Some days, the night is thick and the outline of the constellations is faint, but the stars are constant, existing no matter the obscurity between us and them. And every morning, the sun itself rises again as the earth turns. In the earliest breaking of the world, in the history of the breaking of the world, and in my current world breaking, light is overcoming darkness, both the literal physical darkness and the deep soul darkness. Jesus has been redeeming the world since its first breaking, and will not stop until the day when all is made new.
When I felt the light of the moon on my face, the memory of sun that been shining for days, you’ve already been in this desolate place, you’ve already been here, and You’ve made a way. Jesus has always been, but he has also physically walked this material dirt under our feet, breathed this air in our lungs, looked at our night sky with its glorious stars. He was with us, and he is with us. His light is breaking in, every day and every night, and in the hearts of those who look for him. This is what I know.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.