God’s Blinding Light
I wonder what it’s like to spend a day at the office with God. Who takes the calls? Are there meetings in boardrooms? How’s the coffee? Is it always busy?
The way I picture it is that when a soul loses its way to sin, heaven acts to lead the soul to itself. No doubt there are a few sighs when one of God’s own starts acting up. I imagine a file arriving at the desk of God, and in his wisdom, he does what needs to be done. God loves us too much to leave us as we are. It is then, I believe, that fire is sent down from heaven and lands upon a soul in the form of humility. Do we invite the flame and allow it to illuminate our souls, or do we dare to remain cold?
I recall the first time I read Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, a play based on the witch trials which took place in Salem, Massachusetts, in the late 1600s. The story itself is shocking and gripping. But there is something about the title that fascinated me then and is painfully relevant to me now.
A crucible is a container in which metals or other substances can be heated at very high temperatures. With some imagination, the figurative meaning of the word becomes apparent. In my case, the light of God became my crucible and my soul was set to the fire of humility. Take into your heart what muddiness did rise to the surface, what ghosts did then reveal themselves, and what howling did I hear in the night.
For many people, including myself, the coronavirus lockdown presented an abundance of lonely hours. But I attempted to make each day fruitful. With good intentions, I walked further into the light of God’s truth. Something happened. I was suddenly confronted with truths about myself which I had conveniently forgotten.
The light of God’s truth can be so bright that it burns. In time, my self-righteousness, my vanity, and even my plans crackled and sizzled away. I was once told in the confessional that humility is knowing the truth of who you really are, not who you think you are. I am a testament to this. The veil of my self-righteousness was stripped away. It lay on the floor before me. It was sprawled next to my pride and sloth and wrath.
Humility feels like walking into a room in which the curtains are torn, the chairs disassembled and the carpet stained. When one looks around for the cause of the destruction, there is no else around. Thus a finger must be pointed in a particular direction.
I’m grateful for the work the Lord has begun in me. Torturous as it is, I can now begin to become the spiritual rock star I have dreamed of being. St Paul tells us that “when I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11). And so I think that not only is humility about seeing yourself in the light of the divine lamp but also about growing out of spiritual childishness.
I hope that I can continue to get out of God’s way so that he can turn me into something better than I could become on my own.
This column by Nthabiseng Maphisa was published in the December issue of the Southern cross magazine.
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