A few weeks ago Bronwyn and I took back to back trips with students from all over Nairobi. We were launching a new program we were starting called Adventure Camps. On the trips we climbed a mountain, explored caves, rock climbed, and slept in tents next to a lake full of hippos. It was exactly the kind of ministry Bronwyn and I really believe in. All of it was amazing but I especially enjoyed the caves. When I first started really going to church in mid 90’s one of the first retreats I ever did was with the college group from Leawood Baptist Church on a caving trip. On that trip back then and the ones we just did we did something amazing that I think everyone should experience at least once in their lives. We shut out all the lights.
So we are underground, surrounded by bats with only our flashlights to see by and we turned them all off. It’s completely pitch black and even though your eyes are trying to adjust without any light there is nothing they can do, you are just blind. At first it’s completely disorienting and time doesn’t really help that. Because you are so rarely ever in complete darkness your body kind of has to resist the urge to panic. It’s even better when it’s also completely silent, something our first group of students did no problem, our second group found silence to be challenging and we only managed it for a few moments. But actually, I get it. It’s unnerving hearing bats fly all around and literately not being able to see your hand in front of your face. It can quickly even be scary and hearing your own voice can be relaxing and help bring you back into a comfort zone. However, as terrifying as it is it’s also amazing. Every time I’ve ever done that I’ve had the same thought, and often times others have had it too because they ask me about it. That thought is, how long do you think you could sit in the complete darkness? Could you have someone leave you for an hour, two hours, three? If you had a flashlight would you able to resist turning it on? If you were left without a flashlight would that make it worse? Our minds and eyes and bodies were not designed for life in darkness, we were made to be able to see.
It’s no wonder Jesus describes Himself as “the light of the world” in John 8:12. This is one of the great “I AM” statements where Jesus is affirming that He is God. Jesus is saying that He is the same guy who was talking to Moses in Exodus 3:14 when God told him to tell people that “I AM” sent you. Jesus truly is the “Light of the World” and man was not designed to walk in darkness, it’s disorienting, and scary and you can’t ever really adjust because we were made to be able to see.
“I once was blind but now I see”, is what the man told the Pharisees after Jesus had healed him. I feel the same way, I know what it’s like to be stumbling in the dark and I couldn’t do it for an hour, I want to be with the light of the world, I want to be with Jesus.