Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lights Out

Our daughter had just begun the preschool bible class at our church and was overjoyed to be Sunday school. Shortly after she had started, she brought home a craft that sparked a thought provoking exchange. The craft was a black square of cardboard with a glow-in-the dark cross painted on it. This cross had been decorated with all sorts of feathers an other trinkets that had tied in with their lesson for the day. She was fascinated by the glowing cross and would test it out by going into her closet and turning off the lights.

Like many little 3 year olds, she was afraid of the dark and insisted on keeping a room light on when she was tucked into bed for the night. A night light would just not cut it for this little one. In an attempt to be somewhat energy conscious, I installed a dimmer in her room so I could turn down the light for her and not leave 200 Watts burning all night long. One particular night, after she was tucked in and the light was dimmed, she asked me to prop the cross craft up on top of her dresser where she could see it from her bed.

“Daddy, I can’t see it glow” she complained as I was about to close the door. “I want to see the cross glowing”.

“Honey,” I said without pause, “you have to turn the other lights all the way off in order to see the light from the cross.”

And then I paused, incriminated, as I realized there was something much deeper about this than just her glow in the dark craft.

Do I have too many other kinds of lights in my life to see the light from the cross? Does God need to turn out these other lights sometimes to get me to see the real light? There is nothing inherently wrong with the worldly blessings that God gives me in this life. He blesses his people for many reasons. He overflows our lives with blessings so that we can share with and serve others. But when I get confused or attached to these blessings rather than the bless-ER, they can interfere with what he is trying to get done my our life. In that case he may just need to let these other lights burn out for a bit for my eternal good.

When I do find myself going through a dark time in my life or facing challenges that strain my own human strength, I am forced start looking around for the real light. I am reminded that I cannot do this on my own. Inevitably I’ve taken my eyes off of the cross and was distracted by some other kind of glittering light.

The lesson I took away from this talk was that sometimes, you have to turn off the other lights all the way to see the light from the cross. But keep your eyes on it, and it will be outshine anything else.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalm 119:105

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