But there are times when we would rather not have things "revealed", particularly when the light is shining on things we don't want to see. I must confess there are times when I feel like cursing the revelatory powers of light! Just recently I was working on a large piece of glass that was designed to bring light into the kitchen area of a home. The window was elevated and stretched the across one entire side of the kitchen. It's important to get these windows as clean as possible because people spend a lot of time in the kitchen and windows like this one are a focal point. I had scoured over every square inch of this piece of glass and was sure it was spotless. However, a few minutes later the home owner asked me if I had washed that window yet. She didn't think I had washed it yet!! I couldn't believe it. I thought she must have cataracts or something. However, when I looked at the glass from the angle where she was standing, sure enough, there were streaks all over that piece of glass! Light which had so cleanly passed through that window at one angle, was now revealing streak city, a metropolis of dirt that I SO wished remained invisible to me (and, frankly, the customer).
But that's what light does. It reveals. It gives us the possibility of perspective. When it is plentiful, it comes at us at all angles, exploring everything, letting us know "what is". As much as I wished that window was clean, it wasn't. As soon as someone's eye caught light from a particular angle, the dirt would be revealed...and funny thing, once some "dirt" is revealed, the eye keeps being drawn back to it! Another interesting thing is some angles are difficult to achieve close up...you have to stand back at a certain distance to catch just the right angle of light. This makes it hard to actually clean the glass without someone helping you from a distance, telling you where to clean, and letting you know when you've succeeded in cleaning the spot.
This got me thinking about how Jesus was called the "light of the world", and how as we draw near to his light our own souls are revealed. This too can be an uncomfortable thought, because none of us are perfect and we know standing near such a holy light will reveal our weaknesses. Jesus also recognized and spoke about this, and in fact indicated this is the very fear that will keep some of us from drawing near to God:
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:19-21)
What's funny about this is that his light is the very thing we need in order to be cleansed, or strengthened in our weak areas. If we avoid the light, the "streaks" on our soul remain, and will affect us. We also will be likely to wander into more grime. A window left unattended will soon have more than just streaks seen from an angle...soon it will have streaks seen from many angles, and eventually it will be so spotted it will fail at its purpose, and even be counter productive to the extent you may want to cover it rather than let light come through it at all!
It seems to me there are two things we can when our lives and souls accumulate "streaks". We can do nothing, and allow our streaks to keep us in darkness, so we will not have to face them. Or, we can draw near to Jesus, and let his light show us where we need some spiritual attention, and let him address that area in our lives. After all, he is in the cleansing business. And like cleaning streaks on a window, Jesus may use another person to help us stay focused on the right "spot" in our lives. We may not be able to see our own weaknesses as clearly as those who know us and have a better perspective.
It would be nice if glass would just stay clean. If angles didn't matter, because there would be no dirt to reveal. In God's wisdom, life is not that way. Things, and people, accumulate dirt. They need to be cleaned. This requires us to seek out God, and other people. It means we need to be in relationship. It means we need to be tended to, and cared for...which is not a bad thing! I imagine in heaven, where light abounds, we will be fully known, and this will not be something to fear because we will also be embraced in care.