In 1 John, God refers to Himself as light.
1 John 1: 5 (ESV)
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
I’m not sure it this is literal or metaphorical (light is essentially energy, and I wouldn’t be surprised if God was literally the source of all energy), but either way, it is apt.
I’ve been praying through the Psalms for the last couple of weeks (it’s the first time I’ve done this, and it’s AMAZING. Seriously, if you haven’t already, try it!) and tonight it was Psalm 19. It’s a beautiful Psalm, and in verses 5 and 6 it talks about the Sun. So, since I was praying through the Psalm, I started thanking God for the Sun, and the more I talked about it the more I realized the Sun is friggin legit! Well, more generally, light is friggin legit. Let’s just talk a little bit about light.
First, the obvious. Light helps us see stuff. Duh. But think about it. Objects in and of themselves don’t have color. They’re just a bunch of atoms and air. But the arrangement of those atoms causes light to bend or reflect different ways when it encounters different materials. And this light refraction is what actually gives color. Basic physics stuff, but certainly gives you a new appreciation for light! Sight is, typically, the go-to sense for humans. Without light we would be quite literally lost. Plus, anything beautiful you’ve ever seen that has made you catch your breath, made your heart go thump, given you goosebumps…all brought to you by light.
Then there’s the productivity that light enables. When light goes away, people go to sleep. (Mostly. And even when people don’t go to sleep with the sun, it’s because they have other light sources to work or play by.) Last year, I did an escape room with some friends that was a blackout. There were no lights in the room and we all had to wear blindfolds too, just to be thorough. I’ve done several escape rooms in my time (so fun!), but this one was a whole new level. For probably the first 5 to 10 minutes we mostly bumped into each other. And tables. And walls. We finally got it sorted a bit and went on to CRUSH the escape room, but man was it difficult having to do everything by touch and hearing only. I hope I never have to sort change by touch again. Ever. But when the lights come on, everyone gets up and goes to work. Because by the light of day, we can get ‘er done.
Last and best, light literally powers EVERYTHING. I’m not talking electricity, I’m talking life. All living things run on energy. Typically for animals, the source of that energy is food. But at the bottom of pretty much every food chain out there (except maybe some cave-dwelling creatures? Or certain bacteria?) is a plant. And plants get their energy from…drumroll…the Sun! Light powers plants. Plants power herbivores (and omnivores), and herbivores power carnivores (and omnivores). Almost all of the energy that keeps life going on this planet can be traced directly back to LIGHT.
And THAT is what our God is. He is the source of our illumination, by which everything good and beautiful can be appreciated. When we look at the world with the aid of His light, everything becomes clear. We can see truth, we can appreciate beauty. And we can accomplish good works. So many people bumble around trying to do the right thing. Almost everyone has good intentions. People tend to want to make a positive impact on the world but without the light of God, so many people fumble around and make a mess of things. They hurt themselves, they hurt others, and even if they accomplish something it’s generally a bit messy. But for us, we can truly see the world as it is and can move confidently with God to make a true, positive impact.
And He is the source. The giver and sustainer of LIFE. All of our energy, all of our power, all of our strength comes from God. Nothing can survive without His warmth. I wrote a couple of months ago about how God is love. He is also light. What a God we serve. Can you imagine anything greater than the privilege of serving and having a relationship with Love and Light Himself?