Light and Dark

Day 101

Prayer for the day

O God, be not far from me; come quickly to help me, O my God.

Scripture for the day

1 Samuel 19-21, Luke 11:29-54

Whenever I read passages about light and dark, I immediately switch into judge mode: I am in the light…woe to those in the darkness.

Yet when I read the stories about King Saul in the First Testament, one of the first things that hits me is that Saul regularly contends with light and darkness. Sometimes Saul praises YHWH and seeks to do the right thing. Sometimes he is loving and thoughtful and grateful to David. Sometimes he is fatherly and loving to Jonathan.

And sometimes fury contorts his features, and he hurls spears at his favorites. Sometimes he pursues David with death in his eyes and fire in his heart, lusting for revenge (for what is another question).

In some scriptures, the reason for Saul’s apparent madness is that God sends evil spirits to torment him. In others, the torment simply comes. In still others it seems that Saul switches back and forth.

Regardless of the source of this bipolarity of sorts, Saul is tormented by it. Saul presents to us a vivid picture of the truth of humanity. None of us is all darkness nor all light. Each of us is a complex mixture of the two. We like to believe that the light of Christ will banish the darkness, but the truth in our lives is that our darkness is strong, and resists being banished.

Jesus encourages those listening to him, saying that if the body is full of light, no darkness will be in it, and the light will shine out of the body. Jesus is not saying there will be no struggle and setting us up for failure. Jesus is simply saying that it is our inability to allow the light to permeate, our desire to put it under a bowl sometimes, that limits our good witness.

Oh that we could give up our darkness.

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