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Losing the Light?

God spoke to me through a street lamp today (sounds weird, I know). 

I was driving through the early-morning mist when a red light stopped me in my tracks. And my gosh, I felt like I was waiting forever. As the impatience and the oh no, I might be late! stress started rising, something caught my eye. 

It was a tall street lamp that hung over the traffic lights. And it was flickering. On and off, light and dark. And I was instantly mesmerized. 

Now, in my daily life, I don’t go around admiring street lights; you probably don’t either. And truth be told, I didn’t even notice the other lights that were glowing their harsh fluorescent rays. 

It was just that flickering one. That struggling one. The light whose bulb was dying. 

That is the one that caught my eye. 

Do you ever feel like that street light? Maybe you’re like me, in a season of struggling that just seems to go on and on. One thing after another attacks… and you’re just… struggling. Simple as that. 

It feels like the light inside of you - the energy and vibrancy and God-given life - is dwindling, being replaced by the dark. 

If that’s you right now, you’re in good company. Because I’ve been feeling that way too. 

But, this flickering street lamp can give us hope: even as the dark is pressing in, that light still shines. 

(And que the This Little Light of Mine song that will now be stuck in my head all day.)

In Matthew 5, Jesus gives us this lesson: 

“You are the light of the world... [People don’t] 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” (verses 14-16). 

Seeing that street lamp instantly called this verse to my mind, but you know what’s interesting? Remember how I said the lights that were working correctly, the ones that were constantly illuminating… I didn’t notice? 

When we look at the context and time period of this scripture, they did not have light bulbs (shocker, I know). I’m so used to thinking of a modern-day lamp when I read these verses, but in reality, they just had fire back in those days. 

So this light, this lamp that Jesus calls us to be? It is not an LED bulb; it is a flame. 

And flames flicker. 

They move like they’re alive, dim and brighten depending on the air and wind and whatever other surroundings and chemicals go into combustion (can you tell I’m not a scientist?). 

This light that shines to glorify God is not stagnant. It is affected by its surroundings and circumstances. It will falter. Darkness and wind and rain may close in, may try to snuff it out, but ever resilient, this light will fight back. 

This light will never stop shining. 

Because it is not an ordinary light, fueled by ordinary means. It is fueled by the breath of God, by the Holy Spirit who lives inside of it

Friends, we are that light. 

When we ask Jesus to be our Savior, the Holy Spirit makes His home in us. Isn’t that amazing?!

That means that no matter how we falter, no matter how many times it looks like our flame is burnt out, He will renew us with His strength

He will shine through us; we are simply the beacon. 

So we can flicker, like that little street lamp. We can be worn and bruised. We can suffer, and we will… but He will still shine.

And you know what’s so good about God? 

Flickers draw the eye.

They capture your attention more than some constant glow. 

So when we struggle, when we dim, others will see. And when we shine brighter - thanks to the provision and glory of God - others will see that too. 

And they will be encouraged, just like I hope you are encouraged. 

We all flicker and falter and waver, but we serve a wonderful, spectacular, marvelous Way Maker. 


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