Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Light in the Darker Places

Today I heard an all too familiar story.   I met a couple who are said to be alcoholics.  One is seriously ill yet slowly recovering.  His wife is distraught; crying out to God, looking to Him for help.  I’ve prayed with her a few times asking for God’s healing in body, mind and spirit for the entire family.

As I was sitting with a family friend, his face showed the concern in his heart for them and his despair. He was helping as much as he could and no one else was.   One can feel the hurt and anguish in his heart as he tells how his friends are in need yet no one else in their town has reached out to them.  Their local church, who is fully aware of the situation, has not even called.  They are outcasts and no one wants anything to do with them.

Every time I hear experiences like this my heart breaks a little bit more.

People of God , who are called by His name, often don’t have the eyes to see or wisdom to discern where they can be involved in helping those in need.  We have not learned how to bring God’s light that is in us, out and  into the darkness of another’s world.  We’re too fearful that if we do anything to help that it will appear as if we are condoning unhealthy behavior.  So we do nothing.  Too often we are more concerned about what others around us may say or think rather than what our Lord has to say.

 Yet, if we, His people, develop our hearing to hear His voice, He will give us direction on how to be His representative – His light – in their world.  It is so very possible, that as we follow Jesus, others may experience God’s presence for the first time in a real and tangible way.  They may meet Him too.

Our time on earth is limited.  We, His people, are called to be about His business and mission.

I repent for the times I’ve been blind and deaf to the cries of the outcast.  I repent for the entire Body of Christ for the times we have hidden our light because of fear of the darkness when we were called to do the opposite – to bring God’s light into the darkness to dispel it.

May God give us the ears to hear Him,  His eyes to see opportunities to reach into the dark places and bring others into His light.  May He also give us the courage to follow Him, trusting in His direction.

 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT)

The Message’s paraphrase put it like this:

"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

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