Four days a week, most weeks, for the past two years, it has been my custom to say Morning Prayer in Sunderland Minster’s Bede Chapel. In the darkest days of the year, the windows are black when I arrive. I must simply trust that there is something beautiful there, waiting to be revealed. As the light increases, some idea of structure begins to be made out. Then, the boldest, brightest colours are shown; not in their glory, but muted, ‘muddy’. As the light grows, more and more colour and fine detail become apparent. Many people assume that windows of coloured glass are made for radiance; but this window is designed to change with the light.
There are days when I shine for all to see – and hopefully for God’s glory. There are other days when it is a major victory to get out of bed in the morning, and I might achieve little else all day. Days when my boldest colours are muddy, when my intricate design is hidden in darkness. Days when I don’t have the energy running through me to offer the world what is on my heart.
But that doesn’t mean that the beauty isn’t there.
In the context of the tendency to compare ourselves – sometimes unfavourably, sometimes favourably – against others, Paul wrote:
‘…do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.’ 1 Corinthians 4:5
Sometimes, I am hidden in darkness. Sometimes, I am not able to express the good, God-given purposes of my heart. When the Light comes, what is hidden is brought forth, disclosed to all. Then I will be commended, for what was there all along. And not only me, but also you.
If I truly believed this, what difference would it make to how I wait in darkness?