From Darkness to Light

This past week we went on our first family vacation in a few years, adding my middle son's longtime girlfriend into the mix for the first time.  

The seven of us traveled to Costa Rica, which meant connecting flights, a four-hour drive from the airport to where we were staying, and many tired people once we got to our rented house in the middle of the night. 

Not to mention, I almost got the SUV I was driving stuck on the steep gravel road that led to our destination. 

Because we had been driving in the dark for hours, and there were no natural street lights or any other kind of illumination around us, we had no idea what our environs looked like or where we were, for that matter. 

We essentially fell into bed exhausted, not even unpacking our clothes. 

The next day we all stepped out of our rooms for breakfast and were greeted by the most fantastic ocean view from high on the hill where our house was.  

The sky seemed bigger than I'd ever seen, with so little to distract from its immense beauty.  And even though the Costa Rican coastline was far below, it didn't deter us from repeatedly hearing the waves from the Pacific crash against the rocky shore. 

For the next several days, we got the chance to drive the roads we'd driven in the dark and see the beauty of the rainforest surrounding them, the charm of the town we'd driven through without really noticing, and the stunning beaches we'd passed without knowing it. 

I thought about how our perspectives changed when we could see what was around us, when the darkness fell away, and the light revealed what we missed. 

So much of life is like that, isn't it? 

Far too often, we live with shadows obscuring our view of the beauty of what is around us.  

These shadows can come in the form of fear over our need for certainty, control, safety, and security.  And they can also come in the form of real and imagined hurts.

Whatever their origin, these shadows can often keep us from the joy that comes when we truly open our eyes without fear, dread, bitterness, anger, or anything that clouds our vision.    

But when we brush away the shadows and embrace the light, we might say, "All that was there the whole time, and I didn't know it."  

The truth is, none of us were meant to live in the shadows.  We might visit them occasionally but weren't meant to stay there.  And yet, so many of us choose to journey in the dark even though it was never our destiny. 

In his letter to the church at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul had this to say: 

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!

We are meant to live as people of light, wide-eyed, hearts full, taking in the beauty of God's presence.  So chase away the shadows that have kept you from truly experiencing God around you, and take it all in.  

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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