Once, more than 10 years ago, we were wandering the streets on the coast of North Carolina at an art festival with the sea breeze in our hair and a swagger that looked like we knew what we were doing there. But let’s be real, it was simply one of my many bright ideas for free family fun with a hidden agenda to force family bonding.
We paused at different vendors pretending that money was burning a hole in our pockets and that we really knew how to appreciate their work. We teased them with our empty interest and then would gracefully glide to the next artist to see what they had to offer. It was then we would hear, “excuse me.”
It was a man in love who politely but earnestly asked us to purchase a painting from his girlfriend. It was her first time on that street and no one had bought anything. No one had affirmed her new interest and effort. He proceeded to hand us money and without hesitation, we approached the hope filled girl. We chose a painting, handed her the money and walked away with a reminder of devotion and love and a secret that I’m wondering if she ever found out.
We chose a lighthouse that day. A lighthouse that would represent love and thoughtfulness and that would give me an awesome story to share when friends came by for a visit. But just this week, as I looked at that same lighthouse, a more important, familiar story began to unravel that I had lost sight of.
In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. John 8:12
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5
You see, it’s been rough waters over here lately. Has it been for you too? The exhaustion of physical pain, the sting of a broken heart, and the frustration of the unknown has made for a sea of trouble that has me tightly grasping the edge as if I’m about to be tossed overboard.
Unfortunately, you may understand the struggle all to well. Maybe it’s that person who continues to pull you away from the light? It could be the constant job chaos that has muddied the waters of the truth. For many of us, it’s for sure the pain of the past that darkens our surroundings and distorts our vision. Maybe it’s an addiction and sinful choices? I know that for some of us, it’s the blow of a diagnosis or an unending struggle. Who knows. But what I do know is that we’ve lost our focus. The real pain of life has blocked our view of the cross.
The unfolding of your words give light; it gives understanding to the simple. 119:30
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 112:4
Just as a lighthouse shines bright to expose a near by threat or danger, our God in Heaven shines the truth and provides a path lit with guidance and direction for us to take. His unfailing love, His relentless grace and mercy, and His promised protection provides light in the darkness of earthly trials so that we can keep on keeping on. His faithfulness, His sacrifice, His declared victory over the evil of this world should remind us that are chains are broken, our hope is restored, and our salvation is secure. The gift of the Holy Spirit, the promise of eternal life, and the communion that is available with our Father at any moment illuminates everything so we don’t have to fall into darkness or get tossed around in a sea of trouble.
Beloved, would you join me today? Would you shift your focus from what is pressing to the truth of God’s word? Will you choose to believe God’s promises as a way to thrive and survive instead of dwelling on the darkness that seems unending? Can we cling to the light so that we can walk the narrow path with faithfulness and confidence instead of drifting off with each new trial?
If we want to know how to live, if we want deliverance, if we want to live in the freedom that was declared by the bloodshed of Christ, then we have to know and believe the truth. We have to hang onto every word of the gospel and daily, sometimes minute by minute, renew our minds with the truth of His word. It has to be the very breath we breathe and the very thought we have in order to see the way. If we claim to be a believer and yet walk in darkness, we lie. Let’s not be liars. Let us know what and who we believe and unwaveringly live it out.
Friends, it’s time to lift our heads, see the light, and keep moving in the right direction. Not only will we remember and live by the truth, but we will look and smell like Jesus to the rest of this dark world.