Romans 7: 14-15
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
I have a never-ending fascination with light. All it takes is one tiny splash of sunlight on something and I can’t stop staring at it. If I have my camera handy, time ceases to exist as I capture whatever is being graced by the light for as long as the moment will allow. I especially love it when I encounter a single leaf in the woods touched by a tiny ray of sunlight – I’ll often wonder, now why did that leaf get picked out of all the other leaves?
But – and this is interesting – I am only spellbound by light that is illuminating something that would otherwise be dark. I am not in love with light for the sake of light, and more light is never better. A sunny day can be made up of a lot of harsh glare, and in that case the light loses a significant part of its appeal. So what this tells me is that the best light is light that is defined by darkness, and when shadow and light work together, that is the sweet spot.
We struggle to do better, and to be better people. Yet sometimes we go dark. Sometimes we go really, really dark; and it’s scary and perplexing. We don’t want to do the things we’re doing, but we seem powerless to stop. We spiral out of control, and like Paul we question, why is this happening?
For me it’s helpful to think of that single leaf in the woods receiving its very own ray of sunshine. We don’t know why everything goes dark around us sometimes, but I do know that catching a ray of light is about the most grace-filled thing that can happen; and after all is said and done, the confusion of the darkness is worth the grace of the light.