Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Illuminating the darkness

By Tammy Hensel

Surprised by the sudden darkness, I stood motionless in the hotel indoor swimming pool. Taking a deep breath, I squelched the urge to panic.

"Hey, that's not funny! Turn those lights back on," someone yelled. A voice from the hallway answered, "It's a power outage. The whole hotel is dark."

The emergency back-up lights had failed, leaving us stranded in complete darkness. Fortunately, I stood close to the side of the pool. I reached for the edge and slowly inched my way in the direction of the steps.

"I have a light on my cell phone if I can find it," a young man said.

A few seconds later his small light shone into the darkness. Then another man came into the room with a flashlight. Using his added light, everyone exited the pool safely. We made our way to the lobby, where a several other people shared flashlights as the hotel night clerk lit some small emergency candles.

As I reflect on the scene, it reminds me of the verbal image Jesus painted in the Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

Deep in the heart of the every person dedicated to Christ burns a light fueled by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Under His guidance we shine that light of God's glory by serving those around us. We do not perform "good deeds" for earthly recognition or to earn our way to heaven. Rather, we do them in loving obedience to our Savior who gave His life for ours.

The first little cell phone flashlight gave off enough illumination for me to move a few feet. The second light helped me to see enough to get out of the pool and walk through the hallway. But, when I reached the lobby with several little lights shining together, I could see a whole room!

Jesus calls us a "city on a hill." We picture windows brightly lit to welcome weary travelers. The more we work together as believers, the more we illuminate Christ for the world to see. Satan strives to divert or bury our lights. He wants us to hide them under the coverings of busyness, inadequacies, or organizational differences. We become susceptible when we don't follow the Holy Spirit's guidance day-by-day. Trials, distractions, and, especially unconfessed sin can cause a temporary "power outage" or interruption in our communion with the Spirit.

Daily prayers of confession and thanksgiving help strengthen or restore our connection to the Spirit. Then, in His power, we do good works that draw lost souls to the light of God's love.

copyright Tammy L. Hensel 2012 All Rights Reserved

Video: Go Light Your World by Kathy Troccoli

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