As He’s led me through the process of writing a novel, God has inspired me in many ways and shown me many truths I didn’t before understand in such depth. One of those truths is the importance of understanding that part of His nature He calls “Light”, a part of Himself he has given us as a weapon against the works of darkness.
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “ I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 (NASB)
This is the same gift bestowed on my novel’s main character. As research into how her gift might operate, I began looking up every reference in scripture to light. Then, God took me deeper. I realized that, through observing the properties of natural light, we can gain a better understanding of how Jesus operates, or wants to operate, in our lives.
This new series of posts “Jesus’ Light in Action” will combine scripture with an examination of natural light to help us more fully see God. We’ll begin with the property of reflection….
Reflection can be defined in several ways:
1. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
2. an image; representation; counterpart.
3. the return of light or sound waves from a surface
I’ll be focusing on definitions 2 and 3. There are several types of light reflection. The two which remind me most of our relationship with God are specular reflection and retroreflection.
Specular Reflection mirror-like reflection
Light travels at a certain angle until it strikes a mirrored surface. It bounces back toward the light source at the same angle, but in the opposite direction. This kind of reflection creates an image of the light source on the surface of the mirror (or still water, glass, etc.). The diagram to the right, from an article in Wikipedia, shows how this works. The angle of reflection is the same as the original angle of the light, so the image produced is exact in proportion and shape as the original.
We, too, are a reflection of God’s image.
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB)
When we accept Jesus, we put on His image more fully and more clearly. He says He is Light, and in Him we become light as well. In reflecting His nature through our lives, we show others an image of who He truly is.
“For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” Ephesians 5:8 (NASB)
Retroreflection also called “retroflection”.
LIght bounces off a surface and returns to the direction from which it originated…and becomes brighter. Think of automobile license plates. In the glow of your headlights, the plates of the car up ahead become brighter, as if shining with their own internal light. Isn’t that one of God’s goals for us? We are to so reflect His Love and Light that they become more visible to the world around us.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Another important factor of retroreflection is distance. The brightness of the reflection increases the closer the reflector is to the light source. Makes sense. The closer we draw to God, the more brightly His nature is reflected in us.