One word kind of jumps off the page in this Gospel passage : might. Jesus says: I came into the world as light so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. It kind of stands out there as a qualifier.
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We can hear Jesus’ words as being the difference between “believers” and “unbelievers.” But there’s a sense as we read those words which tells us that none of us are guaranteed to be free of the fear, the coldness that accompanies the experience of darkness. Just reflecting on our own lives and experiences we know to be true… Which can be incredibly frustrating in the life of a believer – a challenge that re-emerges throughout our lives. Jesus I believe in you, I’ve come to you, I know the truths that you are the light – so why do I still experience darkness?
Might it be a sin that is preventing us from experiencing the fullness of light?
Might it be I’m experiencing a season in my life – a loss, an uncertainty, a change that has me feeling God’s absence. The darkness we might describe as a dark night of the soul?
The good news is that Jesus is well aware of whatever it is that might be obscuring His light from penetrating into our world, into our lives… that might be causing our darkness. There’s no qualifier when it comes to Him. He reminds us, I came into the world as light. Earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus is even more direct I am the light of the world (John 8: 12).
For those struggling with a sin – that experience often speaks words of guilt and shame that we find it difficult to even look at ourselves, or at Jesus… we can end up closing the eyes of our faith in embarrassment about that situation we find ourselves in. To those experiencing that, we are called to remember that the light of Christ isn’t looking to be a spotlight of interrogation, but a light of healing.
For those mourning, grieving, experiencing the darkness of loss – those painful realities can understandably be all-consuming. To those enduring that, it’s important to recognize that He hasn’t abandoned us, He isn’t punishing us and continuing to remember those times when His light was very clear, very evident to help us be able to see the glimmers that are trying to break through right now.
The realities of darkness and light, blindness and sight come up throughout scriptures and even more often in our own lives. As believers, we’re not to pretend the darkness and blindness don’t exist or occur, but at the same time, not to despair, not to lose hope, when it does. Rather, staying rooted in our faith and belief that eternal light that has come – no matter what might come our way.