This day was glorious. Sun shining and blue skies made me want to ride my bike to feel what my eyes were witnessing. After stretching in my workout clothes, I strapped on my helmet and rode around my neighborhood among sprawling green trees, a light breeze and stately homes with well-manicured lawns. But quickly, pretty turned to ugly when my sites went from this
And my insides turned from happy to sad from such beauty to despair. The more I looked the more I felt helpless, hopeless, and I wallowed there for just a few seconds because I then saw house after house like this and smiled:
When the sun shines on or through something that’s broken, things just look better or they remind you of something better. As the light peered through broken windows, I saw aspects of the homes not easily seen through dark shadows: sturdy walls, strong floors, what used to be, and what could be. The abandoned homes suddenly had hope, the possibility of something better. Illumination and hope are key components of light. When light comes, there is no darkness and you can see clearly. We all need light in our lives. We need to receive and give light so those abandoned places in us don’t fall into despair and can recover from disrepair.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:11-14—ESV).
As we seek Jesus, the light of the world, He will shine on us to reveal our righteousness and give us hope. Whatever our issue—inflicted upon us from someone else or the suffering we experience as a result of our disobedience—God is there to help us navigate out of our darkness. Jesus has to be in the midst of our dark times. He is the only one who can restore us, giving us continual hope and peace. And many times He doesn’t shine directly upon us but on us through others:
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:5-7—KJV).
So as we shine the light of Christ on others, we are bringing hope to the abandoned places, the emptiness of
- Marital discord
- Child waywardness
- Personal insecurity
and whatever other soul holes others may have. When we see someone abandoned, a structure of a person, let’s not seek to retreat, crossing the street for safer ground. Let’s stand firm, knowing that the God of the universe, the hope of glory, lives in and shines through us, and can illuminate the darkness of any situation. Shining the light of Christ is indeed a radical act of love.
Take a Risk Challenge: Find someone that you know has been abandoned—physically, emotionally or mentally—and shine the light of Christ by encouraging them according to the Word of God.
My One Thousand Gifts List
The start of our homeschool cooperative
Free vegetables from an organic garden
Meeting with a potential business partner
A new meal preparation schedule
A harmonious home
My discipleship group
Deep belly laughs
A dynamic sermon on reconciliation