Tuesday, January 20, 2009

properties of light

Through the deep dark of a winter's night, muted shafts of light shot into the skies -a curious and rare phenomena born of a tincture of extreme chill, moisture, and and pitch black. From each country homestead, each light pole lining the highway, each gas station, each porch lamp, a spectral beam unleashed itself from its usual circle of influence and sailed straight on to the heavens. As beacons light a path through the savage jungle, these ghostly torches burst through the inky arms of night, emblazoning an enigmatic trail.

These rare cones of light have entranced me before, beckoning my car off the main road and down country lanes to seek their origins. Always late at night, always in the lion's heart of winter. But like my search for gold at the foot of rainbows, I reasoned away their magic before I ventured too closely.

"an optical illusion."
"false Northern Lights."
"a figment of my imagination."
"an atmospheric quirk."

-I say to myself, while I count the reasons I need to be in hurry to get home. Home, where light behaves dependably.

Earlier in the day, the memory of those magical wedges of light had come to me -whereas I hadn't thought of them in a long while. I have only seen them twice in my life. But while beseeching heaven on behalf of a friend, I saw them in my mind's eye, the wild eye of imagination. The sharp image of my intercession blazing a path to heaven was impressed upon me.

I interrupted my prayer to recall the properties of light: its speed, its constancy, its unerring qualities. Those mysterious and elusive beams which only seem to appear in the blackest night seemed a perfect picture of intercession, splaying and dispersing their energies towards the gaping mouth of heaven. Will heaven hear? Can the One who sits on the throne see? Won't the blackness swallow up my offering? What else can I do but lift up my voice and let it roar upwards?

Yes, heaven will hear.
Yes, the One who sits on the throne sees.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:5)
We wrestle when we pray (Col 4:12). We wrestle in the dark much of the time, with not even
a speck of light to guide us. Except for the implanted conviction in our heart that He said to pray and that He promised to hear, we would fear spending our energies for naught.

I smiled widely on my drive home last night as I marveled at the properties of light. I think God was smiling too, as a parent does when a child "gets it".


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