When the light hurts

Sometimes the light hurts.

Sometimes the light comes and we find we are not ready for its brilliance. The light exposes. We see our mess. We see our failures. We see our deep wounds and the things we tried to bury away and hide. 

And others can see them, too. 

We crave the light, but when it arrives we find the darkness was easier. We could tuck ourselves away in the shadows and pretend, just like the rest of the world.

The light is truth, and for us, the shadow-children of deception, truth is not always welcome. It spreads its seeing into all the corners. It pierces.

We would not be able to survive under such a blaze were it not for its source. 

“Light dawns in the darkness . . . 

he is gracious, merciful, and righteous” (Ps. 112:4)

That first word, “gracious,” is only used as an attribute of God. 

A God who hears the cry of the wronged (Ex. 22:27). 

A God who does not turn away his face (2 Chr. 30:9). 

A God ready to forgive the most hardened rebellion (Neh. 9:17). 

A God who receives the sorrowful (Joel 2:13). 

A God who works miracles to save (Jonah 4:2). 

The next word, “merciful,” also refers to God alone. 

It is the compassion of a God who never leaves us, who won’t destroy us, who never forgets his beloved (Deut. 4:31). 

A God who descends in the clouds and walks before us (Ex. 34:5-6).

A God who gives us beauty every day so we will remember his mercies (Ps. 111:4). 

A God who turns his anger away (Ps. 78:38). 

He alone is the righteous one, the one who extends justice for the unseen and yet holds us in gentle, never-failing kindness.

A God who comes to us. 

A God who waits for us. 

A God who suffers for and with us. 

A God who lets the light do its healing work, even as we struggle against it.

He is so much more gracious with us than we are with ourselves—or with each other.

We must be patient with those who are moving to the light. It is hard to come out of the shadowlands. It takes work to heal, work we often don’t want to do or don’t think we can.

Maybe that’s why he came the way he did, softly, gently, moving among us with such love and grace. Maybe that’s how he wants us to carry his light. Graciously. Gently. With compassion, patience, and love. And maybe he knows it will take a long time for our eyes to adjust and exposed wounds to heal. 

The light came, is here, and is coming still. Take courage. Take a step toward the light and grasp the hand that reaches even into the darkness. The darkness is not dark to him, and someday soon it will not be dark to you either.

“After he has suffered, 

he will see the light of life and be satisfied . . .” (Is. 53:11)

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