June 15, 2021

A Light from the Shadows

By Dakota Dietz

The Aurora Borealis, Iceland
The Aurora Borealis, Iceland

A few months ago my wife Meagan and I were flying overnight to Iceland on our honeymoon. We were on a mission to catch even a moment of the famed Aurora Borealis, but God surprised us and put on a show we’ll never forget right outside the plane windows. We watched through the tiny porthole as the dancing green and white waves cascaded down, with Orion standing by and stars shooting through. It wasn’t quite a vision of the throne room (Revelation 4), but I imagine we experienced something similar to those who have approached the throne of God, ending up with their nose on the ground in awe.

God is the creator of light, and is light himself. When we see our world’s lights – the sun, stars, moon, Aurora Borealis – we get glimpses of the truest light, which is God’s glory. Ezekiel witnesses a shimmer of this in his vision of the throne, the multicolored shroud surrounding the likeness of a torso of a man. Human language can hardly manage (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

Many people in the bible who have visions of God immediately fall on their faces. The immensity of God’s deity enveloped in shining light completely overwhelms our minuscule faculties of comprehension and leaves us flattened, silenced, and humbled. However, when we process images of creation—like reflected moonlight—we gather information that helps us imagine what it will be like to stand before the Lord of light in all his glory.

Seeing the Northern Lights felt like a foreshadow of beholding the glory of God on his throne. One day we will have the real thing, glorying in the Father. For now we have mere shadows, but after I experienced this breathtaking phenomenon I began to realize how immensely overwhelming is must be to stand in the full presence of our God.

And God does not only give us shadows. He shines his own glorious light into our hearts as we behold him and are transformed into his likeness. We are tarnished mirrors, but one day we will be a full reflection of the glory of our heavenly Maker. This only is possible because Jesus left the presence of the Father to lay down his former glory and become a man. God is the mastermind of every light in the heavens, yet he stepped down into the darkness of earth to take on the darkness and overcome it. He succumbed to death, was laid in a tomb, and then rose on the third day, breaking out of the darkness and throwing open the stone door in his new glorified body.

I’m currently reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the first time. One of the things that strikes me is that Middle Earth is a battleground and darkness always seems to have the upper hand, even as Frodo and his companions strive to oppose it. But a poem early on in the first book gives us a glimmer of hope that the darkness will not prevail:

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king

This can be a dark time of the year, mid-winter and post-holidays, but lets remember that God’s light overcomes darkness in the real world, too, not just in fantasy. Eventually, light will be victorious.

If your world feels dark and covered by shrouds of relational strife, emotional trauma, heartache, pain, despair, or anxiety, let gospel hope remind you that Jesus is intimately at work to overcome it. If you believe Jesus overcame your own darkness and sin on the cross, then he has already folded you into his plan to bring you into his glory.

One day soon when the light has finally and fully overcome, we will worship the Lord in all his fullness of glory, for all the fullness of time.

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