Have you ever watched a little kid sing This Little Light of Mine?
Do you notice their confidence; their absolute assurance that they would never, ever hide their little light, but let it shine as bright as possible?
It’s hard to look at the world now and see any evidence of light; of hope or of courage.
It kind of makes the joy of seeing young children sing that song bitter sweet doesn’t it? Like, why can’t I be that hopeful that there really is light and goodness in the world?
We watch the news or even check social media and there it is – evil, hatred, pain, and fear.
There seems to be no good anymore.
But oh, there is!
I was able to take a trip to Philadelphia recently for work.
This trip of course required that I travel by plane for the first time, and I was a little freaked out to say the least.
I’m not too good with heights, so I was a little apprehensive about sliding open my window cover to glance out across the horizon.
I knew I’d regret it though if I didn’t, so as we reached cruising altitude at 6:15am, I slowly slid up the cover.
To my relief, I couldn’t see much of anything at first.
Yet, as my eyes slowly adjusted and I looked a little closer, low and behold there were these little specks of light flickering across the plains below.
There were beautiful little clusters of light where the small, Nebraska towns were just beginning to wake.
There was a stream of light below as we soared over Interstate 80 – those early travelers and midnight truck drivers making their way across the state.
My depth perception was still a little wonky, but I could see light nonetheless.
We live in a world where darkness is certainly predominate.
There is so much evil – 9/11, the recent Las Vegas shooting, hate crimes, violence, revolt, and suicide.
At first glance, it seems like that is all there is anymore.
But perhaps we need to look a little closer.
Matthew 5:14 says that we are the light of the world. A town built on a hill that cannot be hidden.
Even though darkness was predominate from my view above, light was still unmistakable.
Darkness surrounded it, yes. But despite that darkness, there was still light.
If you think about it, darkness is dependent on the absence of light.
If there is no light, then what does that make?
However, this dependency is certainly not vice versa.
Light is independent of darkness in that where there is light, darkness is impossible.
Light is not eliminated once darkness become present. In fact, the darkness only makes the light brighter.
Therefore, if we are indeed the light of the world as Matthew 5:14 says, then we don’t have to fight the darkness in order to eliminate it – we simply have to wield the power of light that has already been placed within us.
As we neared Dallas, TX where I was to catch my connecting flight, the specks of light below began to fade as the sun started to rise above the horizon.
I was a little bummed because I was on the other side of the plane, so I could not watch the sunrise.
Yet, the effects of the rising sun were still evident from my view.
The small amount of light provided by the little towns below was now replaced by a much larger, all-encompassing light that eliminated any evidence of the darkness that only an hour before had seemed overwhelming.
We are in a day and age where the evil and darkness of this world is indeed vast.
It’s at every turn, every moment, and seemingly in every corner of the world.
I think quite often we can get discouraged by the amount and the severity of evil before us. We begin to wonder how on earth we might overcome such crushing blackness and sometimes, I think we start looking at the wrong things.
Imagine if David had tried to defeat the evil Philistine army and their pride and joy Goliath by analyzing and trying to figure out their weak spots?
What if he had spent all of his time going over battle plans, taking inventory of what weapons Goliath was wielding and using intimidation tactics instead of being what God had created him to be – a shepherd who protected his own with a simple sling and stone?
We need not be discouraged by the darkness of this world, for we are not of the world (John 17:13-16).
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
God has instilled in each of us a weapon; a light that shines brightest and is most powerful against the darkness when displayed in who God created us to be; when we wield the gift He has given us in accordance with His grace.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).
As the days get darker, I encourage you to stop analyzing the darkness. Stop trying to figure out all that’s wrong with the world and instead remember the eternal hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Just as the little clusters of light illuminated the darkness across the plains of Nebraska, illuminate the darkness across the halls of your school, across the cubicles of your office, or across the streets of your neighborhood.
Wield your gift, whatever it may be, allowing your light to shine brightest through the person God created you to be until the Son rises over the horizon, eliminating any and all evidence of the darkness that only days before had seemed overwhelming.