Though the early-morning sky had lightened to a dusty blue by the time my feet hit the pavement, the sun was still hiding behind the mountains as I ran in the summery Provo air. But at the end of my run, as I stood in my doorway, beams of light began to shoot around the edges of the peaks in the east. The light cascaded through Rock Canyon, highlighting Squaw Peak till it ignited the steep canyon walls with an ephemeral glow. And then, faster than I could blink, the sun was there.

As it rose, my eyes were glued to its rays—despite the fact that I could barely look through the glare to its brilliance. Why is it that I was so drawn to the light?

Scientific research has shown that our attraction to light is more than just for its beauty. As humans we have the yearning to be outside because we were never meant to be encased in walls and roofs day after day. There is something within us—our spirits, our souls, our divine DNA—that can only be recharged by feeling the uninhibited light from the sun.

Light of a sunrise coming up over the mountains in a sky of purple, pink, orange, and yellow.

Thriving in the Light

The physical sun is a reflection of the love that our Father has for us and of His desire for us to exist, to thrive. Without the sun, we wouldn’t survive—crops couldn’t grow and temperatures would drop to -400 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is essential to keeping our bodies functioning. We need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium, strengthen the immune system, and support proper brain development. Thankfully, our bodies can produce it—but only when exposed to sunlight. So, we can provide ourselves with the strength our bodies need when we choose to spend time in the sun.

Our Heavenly Father knew what He was doing when He provided us with the light of the sun. But He also gave us a greater light—the guiding light of His perfect Son, who rescues us from the inky blackness of sin, guilt, and doubt. Though our spirits are capable and intelligent, it is only by consistent exposure to the light of the Son of God that we can produce the strength to overcome the challenges we face.

To absorb this spiritual vitamin D, we must choose to spend time with the Son. Merrill J. Bateman, former president of BYU, explained:

Spiritual light is received when one follows the doctrine of Christ—that is, the first principles and ordinances of the restored gospel. I challenge you to increase your faith by living gospel principles more precisely, by repenting when you fall short, by taking an active role in your ward, by rendering service to others, and by making prayer and scripture study a part of your everyday life. [“Light, Visions, and Dreams,” 19 September 2000]

When we immerse ourselves in His light, we can soak up the spiritual nutrients that are necessary for sustained growth.

 

Dispelling the Darkness

Just as we can find happiness and productivity in the light of a sunrise, we can find strength to combat the darkness that comes in life when we choose to live in the spiritual light of our Savior. Robert D. Hales taught:

If we have the Spirit with us, we have light, and Satan, who is the prince of darkness, cannot stand light. Therefore, with that light, if we tell him to depart, he must depart. [“Seek and Attain the Spiritual High Ground in Life,” 1 March 2009]

The more that we dwell in the light, seek out the light, and thrive off of the light, the more resistant we become to the darkness. We become less prone to hide our actions, and we become more intent on introducing others to the light that we enjoy.

When we are walking in spiritual sunshine, we will feel the joy that comes from the glow that radiates from the Son of God, the true source of light. And unlike the ephemeral glow that will eventually dissipate, we can feel a constant warmth of sunshine in our souls.