Remember the days of 35 mm cameras that stored images on rolls of film? When the rolls were full, we took them to a store with a lab and had them developed. And always, in the envelope along with the developed photos were these seemingly unimportant dark brown strips of the original film from which the photos were developed, known as the negatives.
In the negatives, shining objects and light looked dark. Sunlight, white teeth, light colored clothing, and whites of the eyes appeared black on the negatives.
Lots of times, we found ourselves wondering what the odd shapes and people were in these dark little squares. By holding the negatives up to a lamp and with the help of the light shining through, we could make out the images of the people or places represented on the film.
Even motion and angles were backwards from the actual photo.
What was the real picture? Certainly not the negative. Yet, the negative was necessary for developing the image into a photo. Without the negative, you could never have a picture.
Genesis 1:27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image…so God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.'” Our will, emotions, creativity, relationships, and our very beings themselves are made to store his image.
We are God’s negatives. Our dark places are where his light shines brightest. Our most difficult and negatives circumstances offer the most space for his love to shine through. God sees the total picture. What looks dark to us is light to him. What looks backwards to us might actually be the right direction to God. What seems unnecessary to us might be God’s design for growth and development.
Get the picture?
Whether caught in a difficult relationship, a painful situation, or spending time alone in prayer, take a good look at the negative. God’s light and love just might be shining through somewhere.