I hate the dark UNLESS there is some form of light to offset it. Our family experienced a houseboat vacation on the Mississippi River a few summers ago. If you’ve never done one, I would highly recommend it. I cannot tell you how dark it was in the evenings, as we sat on the upper deck of the boat anchored on the beach in the middle of nowhere. And I cannot tell you how gorgeous the sky was, lit with stars that stretched as far as our eyes could see and a moon that shone so brilliantly, casting a reflection on the water. It was breath-taking.
I often wonder what it would have been like to witness the days of creation:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.” (Gen. 1:1-3, ESV). He did not create the sun, moon, and stars until the fourth day of creation (Gen. 1:14-19) so how was there light?
It’s simple: It is who He is. He is light. Anytime He is present, there is light.
When John was given a vision of the new heaven and the new earth, he wrote, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day– and there will be no night there.” (Rev. 21:22-25, ESV).
God is three people in One: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Same person present in three different forms simultaneously. In all three forms, He is everything He says He is, which includes light:
- God was light for the Israelites when He used Moses to free them from slavery in Egypt so that they might be able to travel by day and night, with Him leading the way: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.” (Ex. 13:21, ESV).
- Jesus said He was: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, ESV).
- The Holy Spirit is God in us- a seal of guarantee. “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14, NIV).
Knowing this, Jesus’ words given after delivering the Sermon on the Mount are words that remind us that because of Him and through Him, we too, are light: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16, ESV).
Several years ago while at a gas station, just as I was leaving, a woman was entering and I heard her ask the cashier if they had jumper cables. The girls and I were headed out to our SUV when I heard that still, quiet voice of the Lord whisper– “You have jumper cables. Help her.” A bit annoyed, I went back into the gas station to find the conversation still taking place; apparently no one had jumper cables. I gently touched her arm to get her attention and told her that I thought I had a set in my vehicle and that I would be right back after I checked. The girls got into the car and I opened the lift gate. No cables. She stood waiting outside as I apologetically explained that my husband had just given our vehicle a thorough cleaning and must have forgotten to put them back in. As I was getting into the driver’s seat, I heard the Lord again say, “You have jumper cables. Help her.” Ugh! Really, Lord! I got back out and told the woman (who was still outside) to hold on one more minute; I was going to look one other place. Around to the back of the vehicle I went. With a relatively short dress on, I was now carefully and awkwardly climbing into the back space, unscrewing the side panels that serve as compartments. That was the only other place they could be. Finally, I saw them. “OK, now what? Is it the red on the positive or black on the positive?” I pondered. As I backed my way out of the truck, I met her hopeful eyes. With the cables dangling in my hands, I told her I was able to help her, but didn’t know exactly how to connect them. Smiling, she said, “I do! Just pull your car over to mine and I will get it set up.” Three minutes later, her car was running. After she had unclipped the cables from both batteries, I heard her say thank you as I was closing my hood. Then, what I heard from the Lord was not what I expected: “Don’t you take the credit for this. Mention Me.” How true. The easiest thing to say in reply was “You’re welcome!” and be off, however, that would have been me taking the credit. I turned to her and said, “I don’t know if you know the Lord .. .” That was all it took. Her eyes welled with tears and she gave the most sincere hug. “I do know the Lord,” she replied.
I have not seen that woman since. I have no idea what mentioning the Lord’s name did for her in that moment but I don’t need to know. God knows; it’s all in His master plan– For some reason, she needed to hear His name and be reminded that He is faithful to provide for our every need. I was able to showcase His light and consequently, be a light for someone who needed help and encouragement.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16, ESV).
Right now, this song is playing in my mind. Do you know it? “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.” May we shine bright for Him every day. May we “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above ourselves” (Philippians 2:3, NIV). May we point others to Christ with the light He gives us for us to use. It is not always convenient; it is not always easy; it is not always comfortable; but it is always a gift, especially when we give credit where credit is due: to Him and Him alone.
With Christmas right around the corner, as we enjoy the ambiance of the Christmas tree in the evening with its lights giving off a soft glow, let us enjoy that light, remembering that it signifies who God is and who we are called to be in Him and through Him. He is the best gift. What he offers, no one can buy: eternal life. Accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, the light of our lives, is our only hope to living a light-filled life on this earth and experiencing light forevermore. If you don’t know Him, get to know Him. He is the very best gift you could possibly unwrap.