Darkness Does Not Overcome It
Years ago I heard a pastor use this illustration to press home his point: My pastor and one of his pastor friends walk into a dimly lit restaurant. The pastor friend starts confessing his questions to my pastor, how he struggles with some fundamentals of the faith, and how he wonders if this is a legitimate part of his growth to spiritual maturity. My pastor quickly jumped in to correct him and says, "Did you notice how dark it was in here when we came in. We could hardly find our way to this table. Now, after 30 minutes or so, our eyes have adjusted and we can see just fine. That's your problem! Your soul has adjusted to your spiritual darkness. You think you are in the light, when in fact you've grown accustomed to the darkness." It was a severe warning to all of us to not abandon the fundamentals he had been teaching. It was also a scare tactic: no matter how well we thought we might be doing, in actuality we were probably just accustomed to our own darkness, and he was the only one who could diagnose and fix us. It took me years to get comfortable asking questions, exploring truth, and letting go of childish ways of thinking. Of course, this is still my journey. But this story still haunts me. There is some truth in it, which gives it its power. But there's also another way of looking at it. What if we all actually do live in darkness, and that our ability to eventually see in this darkness is not a sinful accommodation, but an act of discernment? We give up too easily and too soon. The mind cannot tolerate suspense and paradox and mystery, so it will revert back to its default position as soon as possible.¬† How many times have I seen myself and others on the path towards wisdom suddenly regress to our former ways of thinking simply because the darkness was lasting too long and we didn't give our spiritual eyes time to discern truth in the new environment? This is important: light does not dispel darkness. It shines within it, but the darkness will not overcome it. Whether we like it or not, this world is very dark. And it is getting darker. Which is why fundamentalism is on the rise: it's a defensive mechanism against the increasing gloom. We must give our spiritual eyes time to adjust in order to discern the light of the truth. For just $9, order "Nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward", from amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.de.