“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.”
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that somewhere out there, high above the clouds, the sun is shining in all its glory. It doesn’t take a great deal of faith to make such a claim. But it does take a great deal of faith to remember such a basic truth on a day like this. The sun hasn’t been seen here in the last three days, and the forecast for the next week is perpetually stuck on “mostly cloudy.” The world is grey, gloomy, and wet.
If only I could fly. If you’ve ever had to fly in the middle of winter, you know the image that I have in mind right now. The whole world is overcast and shadowed in cloud, but like the first spring flower breaking through the last winter snow, your plane emerges from the clouds as it ascends to its cruising altitude and the cabin of the plane is filled with a welcome and wondrous light.
I know that if I could climb high enough I’d see the sun again, bask in its warmth, revel in its light; but alas, this earth-bound misfit, no matter the effort, is unable to rise above and pierce the veil. The harder I try, the thicker the clouds seem to get. If I cannot rise to the light, must I remain in darkness forever?
No, because I know that there is a light that is greater than the sun that has come to cheer our downcast hearts and darkened minds. There is the light of God, shining from the glory of his Son, that has come to us.
While I could give an exhaustive list, here’s just a glimpse of our proof:
- Psalm 118:27 “The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us.”
- Matthew 4:16 “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has shined.”
- John 1:4-5 “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
- Revelation 21:23 “And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:8, “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” There are necessary moral implications to this verse, yes; we are to do that which is pleasing to God. More can, and should, be said about that later. But for now there is first this great message of hope: No matter how thick the darkness that surrounds you, you live by faith in the light of Christ. You are walking, living, basking in His light.
The common “Altar Call” parlance would have you come to the light, but while the invitation is no doubt sincere, such a journey is unnecessary. His light has already come to you. Jesus said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46). Friends, lift your head from the land of darkness, and look to the light. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).