Our God is a God of contrast. This may be a simple concept to grasp, but if you think about it, I mean, reeeeeallly think about it, you come to a scary realization that the ramification of this concept is far deeper than we care to know.

Many years ago, my wife and I lived in an apartment building in Chicago. We thought life was going to be wonderful going forward. After a few break-ins, vandalism, and sounds of gunshots, we quickly realized city life was not for us. We moved out of the city to an apartment in the suburbs. What a contrast.

After a while, living in an apartment in the suburbs was not as appealing as we thought. Listening to the neighbors on the other side of the wall was not very entertaining. So we moved into a townhome. The townhome was sure better than an apartment, but it too connected our neighbors by a single wall. So we bought a home. Wow! What a contrast.

If we would have bought a home right from the beginning in a nice quiet suburb we would have never appreciated the contrast between living in a noisy and unsafe apartment in the city and living in a quiet home in the suburbs. It’s all a matter of contrast.

I have experienced days where I wondered where is God when everything seems to be going against me. Sometimes trouble comes in waves, sometimes it comes in such high intensity I desire not to be alive than to live through it. Yet here I am, looking back at how God somehow got me through it. It’s a matter of contrast.

What does this mean? Well, how do we know how good we have it if everything surrounding the good things we have is all good? The only accurate way to contrast one thing from the other is from its opposite. Let's look at our monitor right now, or our cell phone screen, whatever it is we're reading this document from. Our background screen is white, the text is black, or in this website's case, the background is dark and the text is white. What would happen if our screen and text were the same color? Our screen would appear blank, and we would have nothing to read. If God would not have created color or at least intensities of grayscale, there would be nothing to see. The eyes would have nothing to decipher.

How do we know how blessed we are if we cannot acknowledge how cursed we have been to begin with? Why does God allow us to go through certain trials that seem to bring us down to the lowest depths of discouragement? It’s only when we are at our lowest that we can see how high we must go. And when we reach our highs, we can only fully appreciate it when we look back at how low we have been. And if we think it was on our own merits, God shoves us back into that deep pit until we learn our lesson. We are human yo-yos spinning up and down always dropping back down to our default position. We are like a sine wave on an Oscilloscope; we can’t have an oscillating wave if the signal is always on the upside. There is nothing to measure if there is no wave.

God created light, but to do that He must first have created darkness, otherwise, how would we tell? Science would stipulate that there is no such thing as darkness for all darkness is but the absence of light. The Bible states however that God indeed created darkness. (Is 45:7) Suppose darkness is the negative and light is the positive. Which came first? Would it be proper to assume then that to know light we must first be acquainted with darkness? Otherwise, how can we tell what light is if there is nothing to contrast it with?

The point is, this same concept spills over into spiritual truths. How do we know God is good if we have no concept of bad? Once upon a time, there was a perfect universe. Lucifer was a holy angel and the government of heaven was in perfect harmony. Had God done absolutely nothing but to continue to energize the life He created, peace and harmony would have continued to this day and beyond. But God’s wisdom is beyond understanding. He knows the end from the beginning. In order to truly appreciate true love and fellowship with intelligent free moral beings, it was necessary to contrast that love and joy with its opposite. How do we know that this is necessary? It is necessary by virtue of the fact that it exists. Nothing exists by chance. God’s glory shines brighter when His glory outshines His surroundings. If everything were the same intensity, how would we tell it apart from anything else? 1 Corinthians 15:41 talks about the different glories of the sun, moon and stars. If they were all the same how would we tell them apart? How can we know that God is holier than His created angels? There must be some contrasting differences.

There was joy in heaven before the rebellion, but this joy was by default. It was an automated joy by nature. There was no death, no disobedience, no disagreements, and no opposing views. All was in perfect harmony. Yet, instead of leaving everything perfect, God decided to give His creation a choice. But we can't have a choice if we had no other options. We can never reach a fork in the road if the road is always straight. So, God placed heaven on trial. How did He do that? He created Lucifer. He was the mightiest, brightest, and most beautiful of all the angels. God knew that all this power and beauty would go to his head. But He did it anyway. It was God’s way of displaying the full implications of willful choice.

God did not create evil, but He created the mechanism by which evil can be seeded. It was not God’s design that man would be acquainted with good and evil, but the gift of choice opened the door to its existence. Choice is the contrast between “Yes” and “No”. We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to be miserable. We can choose to live, or we can choose to die. God gives us the right to choose our own destiny and He will not interfere.

Scripture says, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) But, despite all this trouble, we can choose to be joyful. How can we be joyful amid trouble, suffering, and pain? All we must do is choose to be joyful and thankful, and suddenly the contrast between pain and joy becomes evident. People who see us will be amazed at the contrast and will yearn for that contrast in their lives as well. We can reflect God’s character by being a model of God’s design. He is a God of contrast, and He uses us to display this example of His perfection.

Our God of Contrast