I wouldn’t say the area I was driving into was completely unfamiliar to me—I visit about once every year—but once I arrive, I stay put. I don’t know all the twists and turns. I recognize many landmarks along the road. I have favorites places I stop if I need to fuel the car or pick up a drink or snack. I don’t get disoriented easily, so I wasn’t concerned about arriving after dark, but I was surprised.
I was surprised by what I noticed.
So many of the familiar landmarks melted into the darkness. Lights revealed areas and features I’d never noticed. Lights highlighted features but also created shadows which revealed heights and depths of hills and valleys, trees and buildings.
Because I’m used to driving into the area during daylight hours, I’d thought about the fact I’d miss some things along my drive. As I got closer, I realized I would have missed some things had I not arrived in the dark.
There’s something about the things that stand out in the darkness—whether it’s on a drive or in the reality of life. Spiritually, we want to reside in the light. When the truth is exposed all around us, we’re able to discern what is in the dark. But, if we’re honest, it’s not as clear cut in everyday application as we’d prefer. Some things remain in the dark because we shouldn’t have access. Other things remain in the dark because it’s not the right time for us to understand or face them. Yet other things are in the dark beside the context of light to reveal the potential beauty light can reveal in and around it.
Shadows are results of objects intersecting light. We sometimes place light where we want it in order to highlight our preferences. Experiencing different lights at different times in a variety of settings can widen our perspective—or, I suppose, narrow our perspective as we are reminded of the dynamics of true light, shadows, and darkness.
Sometimes being exposed to what feels like new—whether light or dark—is actually a reminder of the basics of the truth of reliability of God’s provision and beauty.