The small lake shimmers smooth as glass, its dark greenish-brown surface reflecting the surrounding autumn world. Dark, straight tree trunks and branches protect the lake’s perimeter, the yellow, green, and orange leaves doubled in their reflected beauty. The contour of each billowy cloud clearly shows in the dark water. An occasional soft “pop” punctuates the stillness, and ever-widening ripples indicate life beneath this dark mirror. The clouds part, and the mid-afternoon sun shines brilliantly off the water; the sun is bright, even in its reflected glory. A breeze distorts my image—so is my earthly image of God distorted. I cannot imagine the Son’s brilliance. The cottonwood leaves rustle a greeting. They, too, speak of His glory.
Stretched out on a smooth wooden dock, I lie at the water’s edge. With eyes closed, I soak in the peace, the stillness, and the warmth of the sun. Even then, I see the sun’s brilliance, bright red through my closed eyelids.
So it is with God’s light. Just as our eyes cannot look into the sun’s brilliance, neither can we, in our imperfection, look steadfastly in His face. David, “a man after God’s own heart,” said, “he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth” (II Samuel 23:4).
As an imperfect, sinful human being, I cannot look directly at His glory. Even His reflected glory, just like the sun shining off the lake, He is too brilliant to behold.
Paul puts it this way: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (I Cor. 13:12a). If we cannot look directly into His face, how do we behold His brilliance? God, who with His mere spoken word created light, allows His light to shinein us. “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (II Cor. 4:6). Even though we are unable to see His glory with our eyes, Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection have given us the gift of the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God.” Our eyes cannot see His light, but Christ’s light within us helps us to understand His glory.
On a clear night, we see the soft glow of the moon. Its light is not as bright as the sun, yet we can see on a bright, moonlit night because the moon reflects the sun’s light. In the same way, we live for Christ so that our lives reflect the glory of our risen savior. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you” (Is. 60:1, 2). By reflecting God’s glory, we shine in the darkness, providing light in a dreary world. We provide God’s reflected light for others to see Jesus.
Lord, let me be like the moon and reflect the light of your Son. May Your light shine through me for all the world to see.