The Light of Sunrise
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:6
For the past three weeks, I have watched the equatorial sun rise over Lake Victoria each morning in Uganda. I love the sunrise. I love morning. I love light that is natural and life and health-giving. And though I am grateful to be home, I missed the sunrise this morning, and the monkeys who follow shortly thereafter for a banana breakfast. It’s no wonder that pagans worship the sun rather than the God who made it. James, the Lord’s brother, calls God the “Father of lights,” and John simply says, “God is light.”
So I am captured this morning by the comparison in II Corinthians 4:6—God creating light on the very first day of creation, and the light that shines in our hearts to give us knowledge of God. Paul demonstrates to the Corinthians and to us that God has this creative process that He has been using since the beginning of time. It begins with complete darkness—no way to move around, no way to be safe, no way for life to exist. Then God gives the command, and suddenly the world is full of light. Wild banana trees grow along the red dirt roads. Bright fuchsia flowers adorn the hillside drinking in God’s light. A lizard darts across the balcony and jumps to the green fig leaves where he will wait for breakfast. The shimmering water of Lake Victoria stretches to the horizon, and testifies that light is greater than mere human comprehension. Light has changed literally everything.
Paul says that same Light has quite another function. Though one cannot imagine greater magnificence than the light that shines into the world’s darkness, my wonder increases when that light that bursts all walls of blackness shines into my heart. That light opened my eyes to see the love of God, the protection of the Father, the provision of a Husband, the longsuffering and forgiveness of a Savior. It was all in the face of Jesus Christ. That light revealed to me that death is merely a pause in the path to eternal life. That light provided a way of significance where God instructs me daily to walk.
And just as the light in Uganda changed the entire world from black nothingness to incomprehensible life, so the light of the knowledge of the glory of God has shined into my heart to change who I am and where I am going. It is the same light, shining into the world, and simultaneously shining into me. Every day, the sunrise is a call to open your eyes to the glory of God. But if you really want that knowledge, it cannot be found by experiencing a captivating sunrise at the equator, as magnificent as that is. The fullness of light is experienced best when my heart is open to the Inner Voice of revelation—the love of God that is beyond knowledge. I want to walk in the fullness of God today—the sunrise not so captivating; but the light that shines in my heart is bigger, and louder, and more comforting than it has ever been.