We recently took a trip to Tioga County, PA to visit Alex’s family hunting camp. It is a cozy cabin surrounded by woods in an area with a very sparse population. Looking out the window at night you will immediately notice that there are no street lights, and if there is no moon, there is NO light. As I took the time to unplug this past weekend, I worked towards my goal of reading through the entire Bible this year. Because I am reading it chronologically I am working my way through Job. It follows the story of a man who had great favor with God. He had a very bright light shining for God that was one day extinguished as he lost everything he had (possessions & family). I have often heard that if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in Hell after you have perished, it is a total absence of God, and I imagine this must be a very dark lonely place. I don’t envision lakes of fire, a land of demons, surrounded by a Black Sabbath soundtrack, but instead much like the “When Dreams May Come” where you are alone, surrounded by darkness and in silence.
Have you ever been at home the first few seconds after a power outage? It is a very nerve-racking feeling until you are able to find a flash light or light a candle. You stumble around in darkness, maybe hit your knee, trip over the cat, but eventually you find it. What a glorious feeling when your vision is restored and you see your path ahead of you. What an even more comforting feeling if people are there with you and you have multiple candles. It always amazes me during Christmas Eve Service when a single candle is passed around to each member of the congregation to light their candle. As they light there candle, a glow begins to form around the sanctuary until eventually all of the darkness is replaced by the brightness of light.
I must admit that there were several times during our journey that we have felt surrounded by darkness. Through IVF and adoption there are times where you feel like your light is dimmed and close to extinguishment, and other times when you are blinded by the brightness of God’s glory. There are many examples of light that God uses throughout the Bible as an illustration. Psalms 119:105 reads “You word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path“. I am finding this verse to have increasing meaning as I make my way through His word and it begins to help me reflect upon various areas of life. 2 Corinthians 4:6 reads “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ“, I have leaned on this verse during the tougher days.
If you read the headlines todays or set through the first few minutes of any newscast, you will see that our world is a very dim and dark place. We are called to go out and spread the light of Christ to the world and also keep our own light shining bright. “Hide it under a bushel NO! I’m gonna let it shine” Heidi and I feel increasingly blessed and our lights have began to grow brighter. Our path continues to become illuminated as more people join us along our journey to receive the blessing(s) that God has in store for us in Ethiopia. Instead of the cold lonely dark basement, I feel more like the warm inviting sanctuary filled with so many and it is an awesome thing to experience. I thank God everyday for the light He and others help provide in our lives and hope that just like a member in the congregation that I can continue to pass my light onto the next place until the entire world shares in the warm inviting glow of Christ love.