“See! I knew there was something I liked about you! You can’t hide your light!” Wow. What a statement. Isn’t it funny that even in a business meeting, it doesn’t take long to spot a fellow Christian. Her words were such an encouragement to me as we said our final goodbyes. It was something I desperately needed to hear. You see, I almost let my light go out.
But even in darkness, I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. PS 139:12 NIV
A few years ago, I attended my daughter’s Girl Scout camping trip as a chaperone. Part of their badge requirement was to build a fire without a chemical accelerates. Dry grass, leaves and wood were added with a touch of air. Soon their spark turned into a flame large enough to cook lunch. The goal now? To keep the fire alive for dinner. This girl was up to the challenge. In exchange for two quiet, kid free hours, I was in charge of keeping the fire going. No big deal.
A couple of hours and a dead mouse later, the girls were returning and their beautiful fire was almost burned out. Please tell me I am not the only one who has ever been caught sleeping on the job.
A fire requires three basic elements of oxygen, heat and fuel to stay alive. When you remove any one of these elements, the fire extinguishes. I forgot to feed the fire. I found my Christian life in a similar predicament. A number of well choreographed circumstances happened in my life that left me feeling let down and a little disappointed with myself and God. I found myself looking to God for direction that I could no longer hear. Exhausted, tired, anxious and confused about how God could let me fall so far away from him. You have to understand that as I made decisions prior to that season, I consulted with God regularly. I heard his voice clearly. I knew I was right where he wanted me to be, but none of it made sense at the time. How could He be so far away when I knew I was right where he wanted me to be?
I cry out to God most high, to God who will fulfill his purpose for me.” PS 57:2 NIV
My passion was waning. I was operating on my own strength. The voice of God was almost silent in my life. I found I had a choice to make. I could continue on and expect a different result (hello insanity), or I could stop. Look up. Truly listen to what God was trying to tell me. Up to that moment, every part of my life glorified me. My priorities were out of line. I approached the throne of God with false motives. My ambition, even in ministry was selfish. God had to bring me to a place of humility so I could refocus my life back on him. His plan, his path and his purpose. And in the transition, everything has changed. I no longer spend time in his word looking to justify my actions and plans. I look, instead, with a heart that says, “Show me more of you.” Show me how to balance in your priority order. Lead me to your divine appointment, even if it messes up my day. And in that I find a spark. A new breath of life. With regular focus, regular feeding, regular prayer I hope to feed a fire that cannot be extinguished. Who knows. Maybe it will spread to those who surround me. Baby steps. Imperfect progress. Obedience. Whatever you choose to call it. It’s all I’ve got. Not me, Lord. Only you. May your light continue to shine through me in hopes of reaching others for you.
Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. Ecc 11:7. NIV