On account of being a morning person I’m usually the first awake and the first to step foot out of bed. Morning is by far my favorite part of the day. (To those of you rolling your eyes right now, just bear with me here!) Although I enjoy starting the day with a good run or some other workout, what I really love is being the one to “open up the house.” After the sun begins sharing its morning rays, I love turning the blinds and throwing open the curtains all throughout the downstairs. Equally, once the sun has set I’m the first one to “close the house” by again turning the blinds and pulling the curtains shut.
As I thought about this quirky daily ritual I began thinking about the significance of light, darkness, and shadows.
I’ll admit, shadows have always confused me a bit. I remember having great difficulty on a standardized test question asking about the shape of a shadow being cast when the sun was at a particular angle. So…yeah, not my strong suit. But what I do know is this: light is needed to create a shadow; but light does not (and cannot) have a shadow itself. Perhaps this is what Thomas Obadiah Chisolm was thinking about when he penned these beautiful lyrics in the 19th century:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
No shadow of turning with thee. What a beautiful way to describe God’s unchanging nature. However, we cannot credit Mr. Chisholm as the original author of this truth. That honor belongs to the brother of Jesus.
In verse 17 of the first chapter of James we find these words: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
This one verse is so rich and full of truth! How often we forget that God is the Father of lights and is light Himself. 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” What a comfort it is to know we serve a God who is completely pure and holy!
Scripture also provides several passages about the glorious light abounding from the presence and glory of God:
“Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the Lord’s glory,” (Ezekiel 10:4).
“His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power,” (Habakkuk 3:4).
Furthermore, He alone will be the source of all light in the glorious City of God. The prophet Isaiah wrote of this when he said, “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory,” (Isaiah 60:19). Likewise, the book of Revelation tells us, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb,” (Revelation 21:22-23).
Truly, God is light and in him is no darkness at all. There can be no shifting shadows of His character, and no damper placed on His glory. From everlasting to everlasting only the pureness of His radiant holiness abounds.
What a beautiful truth to cling to in the midst of this troubled world. And when the darkness of doubt creeps into our heart and minds, we can heed these words from the Father of heavenly lights, “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). Indeed. He is the great I AM, who was and is and always will be. There is no shadow of turning within Him, and just as He is, forever He will be. This beautiful knowledge is a gift of rest for His children. For as James also reminds us, every good and perfect gift is from above.
This week as I go about my daily “opening and closing” of the house, I will use it as an opportunity to meditate on the truth of our one true and unchanging Light. I pray you will do the same.