By Ruth Pack
I’m sure it will come as no shock to anyone who knows me that I’m not a big fan of Metallica. But I am a HUGE fan of Virginia Tech. And when we started following Virginia Tech sports this year, we found out that before every home football and basketball game, they play the Metallica song Enter Sandman over the huge sound system. Even if heavy metal isn’t your thing, there is something truly fearsome about 60,000+ fans jumping up and down in unison to that guitar lick at the beginning and then singing — not screaming, but singing — “Sleep with one eye open!” Talk about making an impression on visiting teams, not to mention first-time spectators!
But it’s four little words a few bars later that have stuck with me: “Exit light, enter night.” It’s a dark sentiment in a dark song. And I got to thinking, that is the exact opposite of what we experience with God in our lives. For those who seek the Lord, it’s actually “ENTER light, EXIT night.” Not the other way around (“Exit night, enter light”) — we can’t banish the night on our own so that the light can come in — but we can let the light of God shine into our lives to kick out the darkness.
Scripture is chock-full of references to the light of God, specifically through His son Jesus. Here are some of my favorites:
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. Psalm 18:28 ESV
Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 ESV
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5 ESV
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5 ESV
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. I John 1:15 ESV
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 21:23 ESV
To be fair, the lyrics as written make a point all on their own. When light exits, night enters. Darkness is the absence of light; without God, we are in darkness. What does that mean? We lose our direction. We can’t make decisions. We struggle with sin. We are without hope. Now, I believe 100% that once we invite God into our lives, He stays there even if we can’t see Him, just like the sun still exists when it is shining on the other side of the earth during our nighttime. But when we shut out God’s light, the resulting darkness can be overwhelming. We stumble over things that we can’t see, we lose sight of others around us, and in the worst case, we can’t even find a door or window to open in order to let His light back in.
But God’s Word “is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life” (John 8:12). And that passage from Psalm 18 is wonderful news: “For it is You who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.” We don’t have to light that lamp; God lightens our darkness by being our light, our purpose, our direction, our hope. It’s not that darkness never comes but that He banishes it and lights our way again.
Watching a Virginia Tech football game at night, with the crowd jumping and the music pumping, would be unforgettable. But amid those threatening lyrics and the intensity of the whole experience, they still shoot off fireworks that light up the night, just before the big field lights come on and the game begins. The players need the light to play the game. We need the Light to run the race set before us. Enter, Light.
Ruth Pack is a wife, mother, musician, worship leader, registered nurse, writer, and Hokie mom who lives in southern New Hampshire.