John 8:12: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

Bill and I have lived in Arizona for almost two decades now, and we have fallen in love with the local desert. Exploring the outdoors, nature trails usually are very uneven. Hikers keep their eyes glued to the ground to avoid tripping and falling. We have both done our fair share of hiking; I particularly like the early morning hikes.

In Arizona it gets light outside long before the Sun actually shows up on the horizon. The early light paints the awakening desert in pastel colors. Sunsets and Sunrises are quite a show around here.

Hiking before the Sun is up is magical, but can be a bit hazardous. On one occasion I forgot to bring my flashlight, BIG mistake! As a result, I stumbled more than I walked. Thankfully, the Sun rose in time before I got seriously hurt. Wilderness walks are unforgiving if we are not properly equipped.

We don’t need to be hikers to be able to relate to the wilderness experience. Life can resemble a wilderness walk, metaphorically speaking. Randy Newman’s song “It’s a jungle out there!” is a humorous way of putting it. God helps us through that jungle. The Light of the World has a way of seeing us through the most confusing times.

During the Christmas season it’s a custom in North America to decorate our homes, yards and streets with a myriad of Christmas lights; I believe this is one way of depicting Jesus bringing God’s Light into the world.

Jesus will change our fears and tears into hope and radiant joy, much like the sun shining through the drizzling rain will create a beautiful rainbow. The Lord dips our life in color. I know it because that’s what He has done for me. Walking with Him, we have the Light that leads to life.

Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Life’s path is no eight-lane freeway. It’s more of a bumpy hiking trail. Plugging along, we always tread on unexplored ground. Nobody knows what to expect around the next corner.

Life’s pathway is a long journey. We better travel light or we’ll get stuck somewhere with our heavy load. Unburdened is the way to go.

Life is not a burden. Life is a precious gift. We realize that in moments when we hold a newborn baby. However, the thrill of being alive clearly wears off when we are in pain. In light of tragic circumstances we may even lose our desire to be alive. Especially when we feel lost in the dark, we are in desperate need of God’s light.

The light of God is different from any other light source we know. Regular light sources simply won’t hold up. Batteries go low; a camp fire won’t burn unless it’s fed; a candle will flicker and die once it has burnt through the candle wick. God’s eternal flame, however, burns independently without being fed. His light is always shining, which is why we fare a lot better in His presence. Close to the Lord, we are able to see through the dark. Leaning on Him, it is so much easier navigating through life’s highs and lows.

Times will change; God, however, is timeless. He is the Rock of Ages who becomes our stronghold as we call on Him. If we earnestly seek the Lord, we will find Him. Moses encouraged the Israelites with these words (Deuteronomy 4:29):

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

God is hidden from the naked eye, and yet, He is very hard to miss. In fact, we have to be determined to ignore Him to not notice the brilliant Light that outshines the stars, the Moon and the Sun. Eventually, somewhere along life’s bumpy road, we will run into Him.

Life is no hide-and-seek game. God wants to be found; He wants to enlighten us; Heaven’s door is easily opened. All we’ve got to do is start knocking.

Genesis 1:3-4: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”

The rainbow sits in the clouds; the sun, moon and twinkling stars are the jewels of the sky. We look up to see the light because our light sources generally come from up above, not from down below. In light of certain events, things turn around and may look very different from what we’ve seen the day before. This is why we don’t give up hope: the upcoming day hasn’t happened just yet. Besides, being hopeless is never a good idea.

There are physical light sources, as mentioned above, and there is a spiritual light source. I believe that all light originates from the Trinity. God is light. He lights up the deepest darkness by bringing both physical and spiritual light into the world. Darkness does not bring about life and growth at all. That’s what light does. Light reveals while darkness keeps things hidden. Darkness does not have to be created. Darkness just is and represents the places where God is absent. Wherever God dwells, however, there is light.

When sunlight strikes a falling drop of water, it is refracted and creates beautiful rainbow colors. Life without light is not only dark, it’s colorless. If we look for the subtle differences in color and hues, then we definitely need light.

In the world of photography it’s a commonly known fact that we owe depth perception and texture of two-dimensional images to the presence of shade in the picture. Darkness and light in tandem actually work as a great couple. The benefit of God’s separating light from the darkness is that we can differentiate form and texture of all the things we see.

There is no reason to believe that we don’t need darkness at all. We welcome the nightfall at the end of a long working day. We all need a break. However, imagine there is no morning and the nightfall never ends. Darkness is only a blessing when we rest in the expressed hope that dusk is followed by dawn. If we stick with darkness too long, depression settles in. Darkness is not our friend, the Light of the World is.

Heaven is where we are headed when we keep looking for the Light of the World. We need to keep Jesus in our minds when darkness approaches. He emits light when darkness surrounds us. He is our GPS guiding us through confusing times. He is the reason why we are not losing it when all seems lost.

We can always count on God. He’ll never leave us out there in the rain. Looking up when we are rained upon, let’s remember Him – and guess what? We won’t feel forgotten in the process!

“If you’re lost, you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time” Cyndi Lauper

Matthew 5:11: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

If Jesus took a group snapshot of Him and His followers and would post this on social media you could see some sort of a family resemblance.  Unfortunately, there were no cameras back then, though in the Bible we are running into a series of descriptive snapshots.  Those little nuggets can also bring out family resemblance – maybe more so than a photograph could do.

Take for instance Jesus’ descriptive selfie “I am the Light of the World” and compare this to Jesus’ descriptive snapshot of His followers in Matthew’s gospel: “You are the light of the world”. Family resemblance! No doubt about that. Jesus is the light, so are God’s children.

At the dawn of creation, God first created light (Genesis 1:2-5):

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Four little words were spoken: ‘Let there be light’, and life returned to a formless, empty, and dark planet as a result. This goes to show that even in the most dire of circumstances God can come through for us.  Never give up hope! God is closer to us than we might think.

A small flame can be seen from far away. It’s very common to hide in the dark, yet so much easier to be spotted in the light. Have you ever tried to conceal a flashlight in a dark room? Good luck with that!  Light cannot be hidden as Jesus preached to the crowds in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:15-16):

No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”

Lamps are installed under a ceiling, not under a table, to light up an entire room.  What purpose is there in spreading light under a table – to find dust on the floor? Asking us to go and make disciples of all nations, Jesus invites us to come out from under a table, or from wherever else we’re hiding, to spread His goodness wherever we go.

If God’s light is in your heart, don’t be surprised when God shows you around. His love is advertised through the way you live your life. His love shines through you because His Light does not and will not hide.

“Yeshua, Light of the World, whoever follows You, will not walk in the dark but will have the light of life. Light of the World by Bill & Evelyn Snyder

John 1:9-10: “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.”

Picture yourself in a dark room, and suddenly someone shines a flashlight on you. Wouldn’t you be blinded by the light? Conversely, if you were the one holding the flashlight, you could see what’s going on in the dark.

Similarly, the spiritual Light of the world shines through the darkness. God can see through anything; nothing is hidden from Him. God’s understanding penetrates the depths of hell.  Using many word pictures, Psalm 139 describes God’s far-reaching radius (Psalm 139:7-12):

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

Isn’t it hard to see Jesus in a dark and troubled world? A lot of people didn’t recognize the Son of God when He was right there, in plain view, walking the streets of Jerusalem. And who could blame them? Still today people have problems recognizing Jesus. It’s the same phenomenon as gazing into a flashlight while being trapped in the dark. And yet, the good news is that we don’t need to understand God’s love to receive it. All we need is an open heart, and we will see the Light.

“Whenever God shines his light on me
Opens up my eyes so I can see
When I look up in the darkest night
And I know everything’s going to be alright” Van Morrison