But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (John 3:21)
When our deeds are seen to have been formed in light, we are often showcased in pretty thick darkness.
Joseph in a pit and in a dungeon. David hiding in caves. Paul and Barnabus shackled in prison. Gideon threshing wheat inside a winepress. Zechariah unable to speak. Daniel unable to leave. Mary unable to save her reputation. Job bereft of everything except his misunderstanding wife.
There have always been lots of things going on in the light that remain invisible to others, only seen by angels that dwell in unapproachable light – and by demons that are chained to darkness. They, the devils, wonder and tremble to see the secret deeds we do, acts of kindness and generosity and friendship that pierce the blackest oppressions but never get neon billing on a JumboTron. Some men, women, and even children, have become so obnoxious in their loneliness and so wretched in their fears that nobody wants to be around them, but with light comes vision, and you and I take time with those troubled souls, we listen to them, and even enjoy getting to know them. We love them, not just to bring them to the Lord, but because He loves them already.
Initially, and perhaps for a long while, nobody does seem to see what’s going on, and many wouldn’t care anyway. But as time marches on, what has been wrought in God and carried out through faith and love, begins to shine. How many times have we heard the testimony of someone who was steeped in darkness, but one soul, one grandmother or one friend or a boss or a neighbor, one person would not be intimated by the absence of light. No one noticed, no one paid any heed, until life turned on, like the star in the Bethlehem sky, shining not over but within one soul, formerly lost beyond human help . . . but not beyond the efficacy of prayer and hope.
My prayer, as I light my Advent candles today, is that you and I will not grow faint in the dark, for darkness will not overpower the Light by which we live and love, if we will persevere.
But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. ( John 3:21 )
Lord God, grant we pray that we may persevere in love. Those who have gone before us have set an example of Your unfailing faithfulness, and in them we see what can happen when anyone chooses to trust You absolutely. We choose to be numbered among them, in Christ Jesus and for His sake. Amen.
Three bees wax candles found at the Alamannic gravyard of Oberflacht, Seitingen-Oberflacht, Kreis Tuttlingen, Germany. Dating to 6th or beginning 7th century A.D. They are the oldest survived bees wax candles north of the Alps.
Bullenwachter, by permission