I hate to break it to you babe, but I’m not drowning
There’s no one here to save.
(Sara Bareilles “King of Anything” 2010)
A Christian would hear this song and perhaps be reminded of 1 Corinthians 1:18, which reads, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
However, it is far too easy for us as Christians to look down on “those who are perishing” as though they are lost children groping about in the darkness. Being “in the light,” we know that to be a spiritual reality, but we forget that a person that has spent their entire life in darkness is accustomed to the dark.
In this way, spiritual darkness is very like physical darkness. If you walk from a brightly lit room into a dark one, you will stumble, because you can’t see anything. However, if you wake up in the middle of night in the same dark room, you don’t have much trouble navigating it, because your eyes are accustomed to the darkness.
But if someone then turns on the light, you are, for a short time, just as blinded by the light as someone coming in from outside would be blinded by the darkness. Either way, going from light to dark or dark to light, you are probably going to whack your shin on the coffee table.
A person who has spent time in the dark room doesn’t have a problem walking through it. They are accustomed to the darkness, and it suits them. However, that person in the dark room is missing out on so many things that could be seen in the light.
After all, once you get past the initial shock of the light coming on and the brief pain of the rhodopsin breaking down in your eyeballs, then you can see just fine. Much better in fact, than you could even when accustomed to the dark.
This is why we have light switches in our houses—we have always instinctively known that light is better than darkness, so we have developed technology that allows us to have light whenever we desire at the flip of a switch.
This raises a troubling question, however.
If it is so instinctive that we would be attracted to and prefer physical light over physical darkness, then why is it that we are so resistant to come out of spiritual darkness into the light?
And even more troubling–why are those who are in the light, or “saved,” so hesitant to go into other dark rooms and flip on the switch?
(To find out, come back for Part 3: Comfortable)