His perspective differed from mine. Years in the court system darkened his outlook on life. Viewing world events through this lens left him of the opinion “the dark side always wins.” He mocked my hope, labeling me as an “idealist” for my belief in a Light that defeats darkness.
We both sat in the same courthouse hallway waiting for the judge’s summons to hear our respective cases. As a Court Appointed Special Advocate, (CASA) my testimony served as a crucial piece for the termination of parental rights for the child whose advocacy I pursued the past 3 years. Tasked with the defense of the biological father of another case, my attorney friend’s jaded perspective tinged his outlook on both cases.
is there light in the darkness?
Admittedly, a glance at the headlines begs the question, “Is there light in the darkness?” Day after day more tragedy, more brokenness greets us; sadly for some the darkness hits closer to home than the headlines.
I understand my attorney friend’s perspective. Broken lives, heartache and indifference sullenly lounged in the same hallways occupied by attorneys, CASAs, and case workers. But in those same dim hallways a Light radiated Hope within the scoffing darkness.
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.John 1:5
John writes in his gospel message of the Light shining in the darkness: Jesus, the Light that defeats darkness. In Jesus abides eternal life; which is the Light of all mankind. (John 1:4) A Light which shines unrestrained from the very midst of darkness itself.
a light pursued in darkness
An RN colleague of mine signs all of his emails with an exhortation for the readers to shine a light into the darkness around them, because even a tiny beam of light dispells the most profound darkness.
Though reading his sign off many times, one day it arrested my attention and John 1:5 commanded center stage in my mind. Thus began a wrestling match between Light and darkness within my finite understanding.
a light which darkness cannot apprehend
Many versions use the word “overcome” for the King James “comprehend”. In actuality both words are correct, but insufficient alone. Overcome implies defeat, while comprehend implies embracing, apprehending as one’s own.
The Greek word John chose when writing his Gospel is actually a hybrid combining kata and lambano. Kata implies an overpowering, or defeat; while lambano implies a forceful grasping, apprehending to make one’s own.
Together the nuanced word, katalambano reveals a Light that defeats darkness in a most extraordinary way. Christ, the Light John speaks of in John 1:5, not only defeats darkness, He ensures the dark forces of sin and evil are powerless to ever apprehend Him and therefore His own.
light bringing fullness of joy
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The knowledge of God as Light, with no presence of darkness; no sin, no evil, results in fullness of joy for us according to the Apostle John. Sitting with John 1:5 and 1 John 1:4-5, overwhelmed my heart with Hope.
My job presents me with the darkness of death and incurable illness every day, my volunteer work as a CASA presents me with the dark side of broken lives, life’s hard places mock me with evil’s dark cloak and even my own wicked heart eclipses the light of hope.
Yet, God is light and in Him is no darkness at all; in fact the darkness of death, illness, sin, brokenness and suffering holds no power over Him. As His beloved child, the forces and weapons of evil find only defeat in my life, and they stand powerless in every attempt at apprehending me as their own.
a light bringing hope in darkness
As John 1:1-5 reminded me, Jesus, the Light stepped into a world darkened by sin, brokenness and evil; in Him was life, and that life was the Light of all mankind. Jesus brought Hope as a Light that defeats darkness.
The Light stepping upon the earth He created, shines light unto those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death (Luke 1:79) guiding them into His peace. No sin, illness, brokenness or evil demon possession stood against Jesus then, nor stands today.
Hope shined God’s Light in the dim courthouse hallways, it shines in my dark moments, and in my moments defeated by sin, its brilliance bathes my despairing heart as it holds my prodigal children. For God is light, and though darkness boasts victory, it holds none.
A light that defeats darkness
One glance around assails us with deep human suffering, brokenness, hatred, natural disaster, escalating illness, sin, selfishness and every evil imaginable. And for some of us, those things live in our homes, in our lives, in our families.
Like my attorney friend, at times closing my eyes, my broken heart considers maybe “the dark side always wins after all.” But then rays of Light shine forth through the same heart fractures with the truth that God commanded the Light shine forth in the darkness illuminating my heart with the Light of His glory in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
The Light that defeats darkness shines forth all around me; from the midst of the deepest dark place, His Light abides vibrant, strong and unrestrained. In fact, like the stars, the Light shines most brilliant buried in the deepest, darkest night. Can you see it?