"I saw another angel coming down from heaven...
and the earth was illuminated with his glory."
Revelation 18:1


According to Wikipedia, “Darkness, in contrast with brightness, is a relative absence of visible light.” Darkness is something we associate with night, cold, death, or evil. It symbolizes ignorance and confusion, metaphorically, such as in the phrase “groping in darkness.” It brings to mind cave drawings, barbarianism, and the black plagues of Europe. But it’s not something you typically think of as describing the state of our world today.

This is the age of technology and science when humanity has done things never before dreamt of. We think of ourselves as living in the blazing light of the information era. Optimism runs high as we see advances in technology and the latest research. There’s always a well-equipped hospital within driving distance. We have modern conveniences and emergency responders. We feel safe and warm. Isn’t this progress?

Humanity has made formidable accomplishments in modern times. But when you consider the bigger picture, it makes these great strides seem more like twinkling stars against a backdrop of prevailing darkness than the dawn of daylight. 

Our world is still plagued by poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition. Issues of crime, addiction, and dysfunction are prevalent. Worse yet, most of these problems are preventable. When you add global financial and environmental concerns onto these, it’s not a pretty picture. It could even be said that despite all our modern technology, we’re still living in a dark age of sorts.

But what could be the cause of all this darkness? To answer that, perhaps we should consider the very essence of darkness. The most striking example of a phenomenon that doesn’t allow for the existence of light is, of course, a black hole. This is essentially an object which, having lost its brightness, becomes a source of intense gravity.

In comparison to a star, black holes seem to exemplify the similarities between darkness and selfishness. The essence of light is an outflow of energy, such as how the sun produces light. Darkness results when a star turns in on itself and starts to take instead of give, as if its sole purpose for existence were to consume. 

Could it be possible that selfishness is the root cause of the metaphorical darkness in our world as well? Could it be the hidden underlying factor involved in all the corruption and crime on Earth? Such a thought suggests a galactic struggle between good and evil, making you think less about the logistics of problem solving and more about the spiritual factors involved. 

Not only with light, but also with life, we see this same pattern. That selfishness leads to death is demonstrated through multiple disease states. Death is the ultimate darkness, which comes whenever a healthy outflow of circulation is blocked. Whether it be at the tissue level, as with blood clots, or the system level, as with congestive heart failure (CHF), a failure of the ministry mechanism is what brings darkness and death.   

This effect is seen in bodies of water as well. No major life forms can continue to exist within those that lack outflow. These examples demonstrate how selfishness is not compatible with life. Neither life nor light can exist for long by taking without giving.  

Most, if not all, of the world’s problems can be traced back to selfishness on some level. So, the next question we must ask ourselves is how much we may be contributing to the darkness? Do we live with any higher purpose than to enjoy life and benefit ourselves? If not, is our unconscious influence a quiet force of destruction? 

While we’re busy pointing fingers at the cause of society’s problems and hoping policies can fix things, are we among the dead tissue of society that lives unto itself, or are we letting Christ’s goodness flow through us? Jesus spoke in these terms when he talked about the spiritual water he had to give, describing it as coming into and then flowing out of us:

Jesus answered and said unto her, “Every one that drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water I will give him will never thirst. The water I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up unto eternal life.” John 4:13-14

Since the time evil entered the world, when our first parents disobeyed God, a chain reaction was set off that disconnected humanity from God, the Source of power. Because of that, darkness is a natural part of who we are. It’s what we were born into. So, how can we overcome this darkness?

Just striving to “do better” in our own strength isn't the answer. We must plug back into the Source. But since the breach that caused the disconnect also blew a fuse, we can’t just do that unless we get a replacement. 

That’s where grace comes in. Jesus provides us with a new fuse to get our circuits going again. His perfect life is the fuse that we receive within us to replace our blown chances and bad decisions. He's also the technician that does the transplant. And, in the case of circulation, he’s both the surgeon and the heart:

I will also give you a new heart and a put new spirit within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Isaiah 36:26

Cursing the darkness will never help, only love can light the darkness. Such was the life of Christ, like a candle in the dark. In noble, altruistic bravery, he was patient with those who cursed him and loved until the end. It’s an example that, if appreciated, could roll back the darkness in our world.

Though we don’t have it within us to live and love as he did, by beholding him and experiencing his love for us we can be changed by it. By the same power that makes the grass grow and the flowers bloom, which flows from him, we can go from death to life and darkness to light, little by little. 

The path of the righteous is as the dawning light,
That shines more and more unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is as darkness:
They know not at what they stumble.
20 My son, attend to my words;
Incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them,
And health to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all diligence;
For out of it flow the issues of life.
24 Put away from you a wayward mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids right before you.
26 Make a level the path of your feet,
To let all your ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left:
Remove your foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:18-27

Bible verses revised from ASV.

Top image created on Canva

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