Roach or raisin?
“In your light, we see light.” Ps 36.9
Light is delightful. The loveliest things on earth are light-givers—glittering seas, fiery jewels with light-reflecting facets, the midsummer shimmer of sunshine, the glowing moon and sparkling stars, the numinous luminescence of the northern lights, even fireflies flashing dots of night light from their heinies! Some of my favorite words describe light: sparkle, glitter, shimmer, glimmer, glint, brilliant, dazzle. When we feel happy, we express it with light: a “sunny” mood, a radiant outlook, our faces shine. When we’re depressed, we call it gloom, “darkness.” When darkness persists, in the skies or in our souls, we ache for light. Who doesn’t love light?
We don’t. We don’t love the light.
We love light when it warms us, but not when it reveals us. Light doesn’t always glint on tiptoe—it can blind, glare, and expose. The light lived among us, and we felt two ways about him, too. Jesus, brilliant human and radiant God, said, “I am the light of the world.” The hot summer day of his healing was welcome to a world-weary people. But the searchlight of his truth was too bright. Bracing, coruscating with light, the truth was lovely; but it pierced us, and we pierced him in return.
Light exposes. Truth can burn. Jesus knew that: “[The world] hates me because I testify that its works are evil.” (So much for the paintings of our blank-face weak-eyed baby-kissing Savior.) The truth he spoke would get him crucified, yet he kept calm and spoke on. Love can’t do less. Love still speaks today, and unless we accept the truth about our sin and his salvation, we will extinguish him, too. Light and darkness can’t co-exist; day follows night: they’re not bedfellows.
Light in its heavier forms shouldn’t shock us. Life itself is not just pretty stars and summer days. Light, like life, can be aggressive and unrelenting. Our journey of days is no gauzy Kinkade canvas; it’s the sharp, glaring light of a medical room. I’ve been burned by the light, held under the hot lamps of surgery long enough to know the lengths to which God will go to kill cancer. The surgeon’s light is laser-sharp, searching every thought and action to dissolve sin and strengthen the soul. It burns, but it’s love.
Darkness obfuscates and confuses. Light makes all things clear. Imagine stumbling into your kitchen in the middle of the night. You can just make out a dark, oblong shape on the counter. You shudder—is that a roach or a raisin? Could be either: there’s good food in this kitchen, but you’ve had your share of pests. Only one way to find out. You turn on the light! If it scatters, it’s a roach. If it stays put, it’s a raisin! You can eat that!
Our lives are that kitchen. How do you know if a thing is a roach and needs to go, or a raisin and can stay? Shine the light on it. Open the Word of God, listen to the Spirit, learn the truth that sets you free. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” You might squirm when those dark places start to twist with fantastic acrobatics, side-stepping the light. But God’s peace is worth it—when you’re at peace, you can stay put when the light comes on. God’s goal is to shape us into the image of Christ, making us stronger, aligning us with truth, chasing out roaches and giving us raisins. Until nothing in you scatters when he turns on the light.
How do you know it’s a roach, and not just a hot flash, a cold, or a crappy day? Turn on the light. Does anything scatter? It might be a roach. Can’t sit still, keep a quiet mind, have destructive habits and a hundred excuses? It might be roaches. We can’t be soul-scattered and hold our peace. We can’t stumble in a stupor and walk a straight line. We can’t cover up with darkness and walk in the full light of day.
“Let God arise and his enemies be scattered.” When the Lord is lifted up, whatever is an enemy to him is scattered. Like roaches! I’ve begun to pray, “Arise, O Lord, and let whatever is an enemy to You in me be scattered.” Amen. Make me a raisin, O Lord.
 John 8:12
 John 7:7
 Ephesians 5:11
 Psalm 68:1