For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6
I’ve been thinking a lot about separateness lately. As the world seems to move farther and farther away from the message of Christ, I find myself feeling separated from so much of the goings on. Politics, social and moral issues that the world promotes appear to be so upside down. At times I’ve asked, “Where is God in all of this?”
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“What on earth is He up to?” is, I suppose, the better question. Since the beginning of time God’s work has been about separateness. He separated the dark from the light. The land from the sea. The heavens from the earth. He even set apart man from beast. And when He commanded that there would be light it also meant He would set apart good from evil. From that day on He started working in our hearts to bring us into the light. The light that Jesus gave direct access to through His sacrifice.
I’ve been visiting a new church with my husband. The pastor is Adriel Sanchez. Some of you may recognize him as one of the duo from Core Christianity – a podcast and radio show heard around the world. His church has begun a new series on Genesis. And he spoke on the creation of light and dark.
God created beauty, order and light and He didn’t need ingredients. He made them out of nothing, darkness.Pastor Adriel Sanchez
He went on to put the Jewish (and eventually Christian) creation story in to context. The Jews were most likely wandering in the desert when this story was possibly given to Moses from God. Their lives were dark and chaotic. And while other religions of the time, just like today, have their own creation story, those religions created gods out of what was created – the Sun God, Moon God, God of Nature, etc. You’ll notice in Genesis that the sun and moon aren’t called those names. Possibly to avoid man from elevating them to a worshipping status. God created all the things that these other religions made into little gods.
We weren’t created to serve the sun, the moon, or nature. They were created FOR man by God.Pastor Adriel Sanchez
When you think about what God did for us humans it’s pretty amazing. Think about a gift you received that was the best gift ever. Do you remember how you thanked the person who gave it to you? Now imagine this gift that God gave us. The light, the land, the skies, the animals. How could we ever thank Him enough? All He has ever asked of us is to set ourselves apart from the darkness.
Our hearts are like the wilderness – dark and chaotic. And God says to our hearts, “Let there be light!Pastor Adriel Sanchez
So let’s go back to C.S. Lewis’ imagery of rebuilding the house. God is working on rebuilding the world. God works on large scale projects while also working on our tiny little bathroom remodel. It’s the same work schedule He has maintained throughout history. There’s a lot of knocking down walls going on. And with that comes a lot of pushback from people who don’t want the light to enter in the room. They enjoy living in the darkness in order to put themselves and their desires at their center.
I’ve heard people talk disparaging about the Bible – its violence especially. Many uneducated about the Bible take issue with destroying whole towns and killing off all the residents. But put in context it was a major remodel taking place. Those cities were rife with termites and rot. Child sacrifices and unbridled sexual exploits all in the name of satisfying some fertility god were rampant. They were just plain evil.
And while God was using other people and the Jews to destroy those darkened places He made it a point to work in each and every Israelite’s heart. He cared about behavior but He cared more for bringing light to their hearts and minds. They were to act like people set apart from the darkness. He cared enough about us, as individuals, to first send His Son and then leave us with the light of His Holy Spirit to dwell in each of us.
It’s hard to live set apart from the world. It may cause our faith, at times, to wane. But I’m finding when I change my question from “Where is God?” to “What on earth is He up to?” it helps me to see His work in me and the world. For when I see my Savior I surely want to be remodeled, a house full of light.