Elijah felt like this more than once … a lone light in a society losing touch with a holy God. Can you relate? While it is true there remained a remnant of people who had not bowed the knee to Baal, he had been chosen to confront the apostasy of a nation bearing his name and felt very much alone.
What difference could one life make against an Ahab and a Jezebel? (1 Kings 17 – 19)
Our light as believing leaders may at times flicker to the point of near extinction in the sighing weight of a high calling to love, even in extreme circumstances which want to extinguish it. In faltering faith it may seem as though we will never make a dent in the realities of rapidly disintegrating racial tensions, or glacial standoffs in values and principles, or rabid facial contempt when trying to guide a proud world to an undesired source of light much greater than ourselves.
We may start to wonder if one or two lights, your life and mine, or in reality, a much larger remnant of a global faith community can really make a difference. Father, forgive us.
Its the difference between succumbing to evil, crashing into malicious strongholds and towers unprepared, driving off roads into ditches of deadly destruction unspared and leading others to follow suit … and, clearly pinpointing reasons to live in love and hope as we trust God to act in the holistic light of a perfect justice only he can determine.
One day, the sun will rise on the morning of his never ending light made sight.
Our ministry and service may at times take us through long dark tunnels of time and terrifying days to light the way for others who may yet see the light of heaven come in fuller glory, all to his praise, not ours. Keep shining.
Perhaps a genuine aspiration towards healthy insignificance, a dying to self, a joy in small and hidden lives reflecting him, has nonetheless not yet exposed each way we must rely on Holy Spirit grace to fully live within the bigger flame of Triune love of which we are a part and be transformed; to see that it may be just one additional flicker of light needed to showcase the beauty of his will … and perhaps it will be the spotlight of our faithfulness he will use to light the moment with new life.
Does your childhood memory include this hymn?
‘Jesus bids us shine as a clear, pure light; Like a little candle burning in the night; In this world of darkness, so we must shine; You in your small corner, and I in mine’.
Over and over we are inspired by individuals whose lives brighten shadowed corners for the greater good through simple acts of loving courage which end up altering the future direction of generations. Refusing to burn out in burnt out promises or learnt professions which endlessly divide and devour, they choose life at every turn.
Quiet resistance to fall in line with darkened hearts places lights along dangerous paths.
Consider the solitary Light of Jesus. In the dimness of a vicious storm and the eery blackened sun of a solar eclipse, we see the Light and Prince of Peace displayed to all the world go out rather than give in … but then, the radiating glow of resurrection stole the show and shone the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of love, breaking into our darkness through this solitary, substitutionary Life.
This one life continues to make all the difference … Jesus.
I am reminded today that even a pinpoint of his light shining through each of us can make a vast difference between wandering aimlessly with unseeing eyes, or seeing the way out of darkness. Love in the face of hatred. Forgiveness in the face of antagonism. Kindness in the face of violence.
A prophetic life, a contemplative life, a life lived in contrast to prevalent views and values discovers intimacy with God and moves us along the ‘road less travelled’ to shed the light of Christ as those who choose to live in his love … one flicker at a time.
‘Lord, pour the oil of your Spirit into lamps about to run dry, for you have promised not to snuff out a smouldering wick deflated in the light of terror and trauma, deception and drama, or length of the journey. We bless you for the faithful souls you plant in our dark tunnels who become for us the very light of Christ and challenge us to be the same for someone else.
In a world of flashing flames and bombs, give your people strength to shine a brighter word, the light of Love which will never be overcome by the darkness. Shine through us, one small and great act of love at a time saying, here’s the way home … better yet, he’s the way home. The door light is always on. Amen.’
… a few word pictures showcasing small lights and the difference they make …
- a welcoming porch light at the end of a long country lane
- lighthouse warnings flashing in thick fog
- a flickering ‘Christ candle’ in a dimly lit sanctuary on Christmas Eve
- the gentle glow of a nightlight whispering soft words of peace to a sleeping child
- a candlelight dinner
- a single pair of beams from an oncoming vehicle in the far distance
- the light of a flashlight tucked in a summer tent
- first rays of early dawn slipping above the horizon
- morning light washing through bedroom sheers
- moonlight dancing freely on a wide ocean expanse, little flickers on the periphery
- the cascading colour of fireworks falling into shadows
- fireflies punching holes in the darkness of a meadow under a waning moon