I don’t know if you have turned on the news lately, but there are some really terrible and devastating things going on in the world. Every day it seems like there are more and more reports of death and disease and war and chaos. The world is becoming such a hopeless place. So much senseless crime, extreme poverty, sickness, death, pain and hurt everywhere you turn. It makes you wonder if there is any good still in the world. I don’t know about you but sometimes I wonder why even bother trying…it all gets so overwhelming.
In a town like Grahamstown, where extreme poverty is literally in your backyard and abuse and sickness is normal. Hope and healing seem so far away. But Grahamstown is an interesting place. It is shaped like a bowl. Grahamstown is in a valley situated between hills. On one side of this ‘bowl’ is a very prestigious university that takes up a large amount of the town and its inhabitants. Then on the opposite side of the bowl is the township which is infected with extreme poverty, disease, abuse, and violence. The interesting thing about Grahamstown and particularly this township area is that from the township you have a very clear view of the university. You can see freedom, hope, a better life, education, success. It literally takes about ten minutes to drive from the top of the township to the other end of town where campus is located. So close yet so far away. It breaks my heart because a very, very small percentage of people that are born and raised in the township will ever attend the university that is less than 10 minutes away or any for that matter. They will be faced with continuing the vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy, abuse, and disease. It all seems so hopeless…
BUT! God calls us to be light in a dark place. Yes, God calls us to be light in the life of someone consumed with darkness. God instructs us to be the light to that co-worker with the bad attitude. We must be light to our neighbor that is sick. We must be light to our parents whose marriage is failing. To be light to a friend who is struggling with sexual sin. To be light to a stranger that God puts in our path.
In Matthew 5: 14- 16 Jesus teaches about how we must be the light of the world. God has put us, believers and doers of his Word, on a hill. He has placed people in our lives, put us in situations where we must choose to let our light shine. Why? Well verse 16 says:
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
We must shine our light in order for God to receive the glory due to Him. We must shine our lights because God has blessed us so greatly we are inspired to help others and bring Him glory.
Is your light intentional? Are you choosing to live your life consciously aware of your light?
Ok I understand. Sometimes life happens to you. The wind blows a little too hard and your light starts to flicker. Or maybe it goes out altogether. What then? God is able to reignite that flame. When we understand the character of God then the way we respond to the wind in life changes. Our light may flicker a bit but God’s power and authority is able to reignite our flames. John 16:33 says:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Bad news and hopelessness doesn’t affect you the same anymore. Because you understand that God has dominion over all of that. This week I was feeling rather discouraged, stressed, and tired. The wind was blowing just a bit too hard for my liking and my light was starting to flicker. I didn’t feel that anything that I was doing was enough. Then God sent me a reminder of His grace and my purpose. A friend of mine spoke these words to me:
Be bright in the corner where you are.
Simple yet powerful. God didn’t call me to be super woman, He simply wanted me to be the light in the place He called me to. He is able and willing to take care of the rest. It may seem like none of the praying you are doing is working to change your situation. Things may even seem like they are getting worse. All God wants is for you to be light. To be bright in the corner where you are. Be bright on the corner of the earth God called you to. Guess what?! It may seem like everything is hopeless, but that corner is just a little brighter because of your light. Keep shinning friends.