1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJV
Speaking to Israel through the prophet Isaiah about its recognition of the Messiah in the last days, the Lord is also speaking to each one of us, highlighting that moment when the veil of unbelief is finally removed from our own eyes.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV
I recall the moment that happened for me when I was ten years old. I was mopping the kitchen floor, which was fairly unique in itself. It was a Friday night, possibly Good Friday, and I had just finished watching the movie “King of Kings” on television. This movie was about Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Having watched it, I regarded it as any other movie, a moving and emotional experience to be watched and then forgotten. But later, as I was mopping the floor directly in front of the kitchen sink, a realization suddenly came over me and stopped me in my tracks:
“God is real. The movie plot was real. It really happened!”
This meant that all the stories and scriptures I had only partially heard in church for the past several years were not just stories – they were true. They really happened. And not only that, but God is also real in my life. Wow, what a concept. I remember that moment like it was yesterday these many decades later. I had experienced a measure of faith for the very first time.
The veil was removed, but only partially. It would cover my eyes again at times over the years, sometimes as a result of my own harmful choices, but God was always still there. He never rejected or discarded me because of my ill-advised wanderings. He never left me, though I often tried to leave Him, at least until the next crisis came along.
Several experiences along the way drew me back, then closer, to the cross of Christ. A large gathering by Billy Graham’s organization, led by his brother-in-law, Leighton Ford, re-ignited the spiritual fire and helped me see Christ as the true source of my salvation. Returning to church, I was led by a caring and loving pastor who shared the Bible with us. Sobriety came next, following a path recommended by that pastor. A Disciple Bible study immersed us in God’s word and confirmed its continuity and life-changing power. Spiritual retreats, as both participant and facilitator, kept the fire burning. A gentle call to participate in Prison Ministry led to many more moments walking with the Spirit on the high hills of the earth. More service opportunities came along in each place we have lived, some brief, others of longer duration. Each step of the way, God continued to amaze with His glory and goodness as the veil of darkness was incrementally but steadily removed. The Lord continues to reveal Himself through the colors of creation, His word, prayer, and the marvel of “coincidental” experiences.
But many if not most around us still live under a veil of spiritual darkness and cannot or will not see the reality of God. Why is that?
In his second letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul explains that there is a spiritual barrier keeping many from seeing the light of Christ. It is a sobering acknowledgment that, along with God, there is an evil opposition to Him, and that evil one does have some power and is doing his best to keep as many as possible from seeing the light of life.
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV
Because of the influence of these powers and principalities, a deep spiritual darkness does cover many around us. In some, this darkness can give rise to hopelessness and despair, leading to spiritual depression and even suicidal thoughts. Only God can draw us to seek the removal of this veil of darkness from our eyes, revealing His brilliant light.
Jesus spoke to His disciples about this drawing by the Father to Himself, which is sometimes referred to as God’s prevenient grace.
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44 NKJV
This life-giving act by the Father is strengthened by the prayers offered on our behalf. Intercessory prayer is the most powerful weapon in the battle against spiritual opposition to God.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, in the person and power of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He is right here with each of us. May the veil be removed to reveal even more of His grace, goodness, and light today.
What about you? What is your life story? Have you seen the light arise as God began to reveal His great love for you and the abundance of His goodness? If not, may that process begin today. May God bless you on your journey as you discover Him.
Lord, open my eyes to remove the veil of darkness so that I may see Your great light arise around me and within me. Show me that You are with me every step of the way in my life’s journey. Help me to surrender to Your goodness and love today and every day that You give us. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.