I have a morning ritual. I take my coffee and toast to the den to begin my day. The den is dark at 5:30 am. Since I read from my devices, I have no need for lights. I do need my coffee, so before dawn I sip and read in shadows. The time is peaceful and quiet, most of the time. But there’s a flaw. I like to place my coffee on the side table and I habitually find my target. Habits can be broken. Once, I blindly extended my arm to place my coffee down and released it into thin air. The calm was shattered by the flood of java, an emergent glare of light, and lots of paper towels. But here is what matters. I have had this same mishap three times. Yes, on three separate occasions I have missed the table. Three times the chair, carpet and flooring have been baptized with caffeine. And three times I have told myself that this is the last time!
Before you offer wise advice about putting the table closer, consider this: The problem is not furniture arrangement, it’s me! Anyone can have an accident, but the repetition of the same problem suggests a measure of delusion. I am deluded to think that I can function well in the dark. Clearly, my best intentions were not enough to keep my mug from hitting the floor. But my delusion is deeper. The first time I missed the table, I thought, “I will never do that again!” Repeating the mistake and then making a trinity of the same error proves that knowing it could happen and trying to prevent it from happening – doesn’t mean it won’t.
You are thinking, if not yelling at these paragraphs, “Just turn on a light!” And you would be right. Illumination would reduce, if not prevent my stumbling in the dark. It sounds so simple. It makes you wonder why we prefer darkness. Jesus is the entrance of light to our world. He dispels the murkiness of life. Yet people prefer the shadows (John 3:19). Many think they can do just fine without light. Even the pattern of spilled tears and broken hopes won’t dissuade them. They’re convinced they won’t make those mistakes again. But since the darkness continues, so do the failures and faults.
You don’t criticize a blind person for stumbling, but you do wish it was different for them. Jesus is the difference we all need. He is the brightness that pierces opaque hearts. He not only illuminates our lives, He illuminates us! That points to two truths. First, we must live in the light that Jesus grants. We are to walk in the light (1 John 1:7). A life of light is not automatic, but a choice we make daily. We are to renounce our shadowy self and stride by the beam of truth. Second, we are to shine for the glory of God (Matthew 5:16). By His grace, we are moons to God’s Son. We have no light of our own but reflect His goodness and love. Being human, we wax and wane between brightness and shadow. But since we’re seen by the earth, let us shine for His glory. This world could do with more light. So could my den.