Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Facing the Darkness

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. But you are living with evil people all around you, who have lost their sense of what is right. Among those people you shine like lights in a dark world, and you offer them the teaching that gives life...
~ Philippians 2:14-16, ERV ~
(Emphasis my own)

It's been a long, cold, dark winter this year.  In fact, when all of nature should already be singing out the hymns of joyful spring, it is instead groaning under the perpetual gloom of persistent doldrums.  The heaviness of seemingly endless gray and bone-chilling precipitation only serves to drag the mood to new lows.  It certainly has not helped to have the flood of bad news threatening to hold us under.

Reports of  a prominent pastor's child committing suicide, the endless discord between our national leaders, the increased nuclear threats of foreign madmen, the macabre trial of an abortion doctor who murdered children born alive, a heartbreaking effect of a fertilizer factory explosion in Texas, and hundreds either killed or mutilated by a coordinated terrorist attack in Boston make the days even darker.  Combine this oppressive bad news with our own personal challenges, and the inclination to flee towards the light is great.  Who wouldn't love to abandoned such a pall for the bright, joyful reality of illumination?

I had some opportunities to step out of this ugly gloom.  A peek at the sun and living vegetation were welcomed gifts to my soul.  For just a few days at a time I could forget the endless bad news.  I could set aside the bullies and educational challenges facing my youngest child at school.  I could forget the pressing bills racked up by two children with expensive special needs.  I had no need to be running to doctor's appointments, IEPs or hospitals.  It all made me want to stay in the glow of where I was.

Yet, God calls us, his beloved, to face the darkness head on.  The much-needed break was definitely a divine appointment, intended to bless me.  It filled me back up after being so very depleted.  However, each of us, including me, is wooed, not to run away from the darkness, but to go back in there and shine brightly in a darkened world.

In my selfish humanity, I want to stay where it's comfortable, sunny, warm.  I don't want to go back and face the pitch black.  It's too painful to carry on as so much evil and so many troubles swirl around me.  In my mind, I deserve to stay where people are nice, the days are pleasant and there are no troubles.

Thank God that he calls us to be more like a disco ball covered with many mirrors, reflecting His glory rather than be an independent, self-energized celestial body!  On my own, I cannot shine like a star in a world where humans have seemingly lost all sense of right and wrong.  I am unable to be positive with the dirge of negativity endlessly ringing all around me.  My Maker knows this.  His goal is not that I be the final object of people's attraction.  Instead, when people are attracted to the light of glory that I reflect, I am to point them to the reason for my hope, Jesus Christ.

A person who is able to experience joy and reflect light in the darkness of raising a child with special needs while horrific global events swirl about is someone who is pleasantly peculiar indeed.  When we are obedient to God, facing that darkness we would rather avoid, shining like a star in contrast to the world around us, people are curiously attracted to us.  They want what we have!  Who wouldn't want such joy when they're stuck in the inescapable darkness of this world?  We reflect hope to a hurting reality as God's image-bearers.  And we need to be prepared at all times, in all circumstances to share with others the reason for our refreshing hope.  (See 1 Peter 3:15)

This high calling should be enough to kick our tails into high gear when we would rather remain in that luminescence of vacation.  We are filled up, not to be gluttonous and self-satisfying, but to share what has been poured into us.  Think of what we have to share simply by walking into a children's hospital!

I may not always feel like I want the responsibility of this role, but all I need is to see one other person catch the light that I bear in Christ's name, and it energizes me with great purpose.  I become powerfully motivated to keep on persevering in the darkness with a drive that is not my own.  In radiating outward, I actually get refilled myself.  What a privilege seeing and being a part of God's purposes fulfilled!

When you don't feel like being the reflective light of Christ in the darkness, trust the Lord and do it anyway.  You will gain as much as you pour out of yourself.  You will suddenly gain the unique experience of having a front row seat to watch God work in the otherwise hopeless world around you.  You will overcome the darkness with powerful Light.  In lifting others, you will be elevated with great buoyancy yourself.  Shine on, friend!  Shine on!

PRAY:  Lord, the gloom all around me often seems to be more than humanity can overcome.  Yet, nothing is too difficult for You.  Holy Spirit, grant me the inner peace and discipline to obey you, taking your light back into the darkness.  Let me reflect Your hope to a hurting world.

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1 comment:

  1. A friend just shared this example of people shining the Light with me