Gloomy clouds dawned in the morning sky yet again. The Coronavirus closures coincided with weeks of rain and gray skies that are atypical for sunny Southern California where we pay the weather tax. The dreariness outside and relentless bad news on my screen merged with underlying anxiety, depression, and the loss of my in-person community. It all felt suffocating.
From the edge of my bed, I gazed out my window and prayed. As I asked Christ to lift the dismal, heavy weight off my chest and bolster me for another long day, a stunning beam of sunlight broke through the clouds. A fitting symbol of truth I had failed to remember – Jesus is the Light of the World and the light of my life. And through this Light of Life, I’ve been charged to shine for Him individually and in community.
In that morning moment, God shone a bright dose of bravery into my gloomy soul.
I wish I could say that after that experience, all was peachy for me. It was not. Yet, a shift took place in my spirit as I focused more on Christ’s light and less on the shadows of the world. I stopped marking each day’s end with an “x” in my journal. I sought out happy, good news stories. And with great intention, I reduced my intake of news and social media and increased my intake of God’s truth. I put this verse on my phone and stuck it near my bed and computer as a reminder: “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (John 8:12 NLT).
My bleak state brightened as 2020 carried on and I found wisdom as I focused on the Light of the World.
Eventually, the sun came out, but the black clouds of COVID stayed, as did the relentless torrent of bad news. And I deeply missed my friends.
One of the hardest parts of the pandemic (and my current health crisis) was and still is the absence of physically attending church. There is a hole in my week where there once was corporate prayer and worship. I’ve felt the loss of comradery, hugs, and screenless faces. We were created for community, weren’t we?
However, I remind myself that behind the monitors, the church is still The Church.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14 NASB). You and I belong to a body of believers whom God created to shine like one luminous flame on a moonless night. A city on a hill. In these historic days, we have an opportunity to radiate as one for Jesus as never before. I find myself hope-filled and compelled by these words of Jesus to join fellow Christ-followers as we shine collectively in person and through our screens.
And today, as the calendar continues to turn and the holiday season looms, I lift my face to the Light of Life when I am frozen by the fear that uncertainty brings.
Therefore, I am determined that in my little world, I will be a light bearer for my Savior. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). The holidays may look so different than normal for so many this year (my family included) and this scripture inspires me in my mission to shine and serve. As children of the King, we can reflect His radiant love to those He puts on our path. Hurting souls in desperate need of hope in an often lonely, difficult season.
As this strange, scary, arduous, and sometimes wonderful year closes in, I reflect on my journey with Jesus, the Light of Life. The One who shines through His Church, His beloved sons and daughters. I keep on returning to His light and wonder where would I be without Him? Without His word to lead me? Without His wisdom to guide me? My heart overflows with gratitude to the One who continues to rescue me in the dark morning moments, who guides me with bright courage, and leads me to shine for Him.