ENCOURAGE EVERYONE IN THE HILL CITY AREA TO HAVE A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!
DARKNESS OR LIGHT? IT’S TIME TO CHOOSE
Last year, I found myself taking more and more notice of darkness. Not the physical kind that awaits us at the end of the day . . . the kind that looms over one’s life emotionally. It seemed like many people I know were trapped in that sad mindset that sees only the shadows in their lives.
Admittedly, those shadows are all around us. They take the form of a child struggling with addictions or hanging out with the wrong crowd. Financial burdens, the loss of a loved one, an old hurt that still torments the mind, a lie that someone has told about us – many things cast shadows into our daily lives. If we aren’t careful, these shadows can affect our vision. Look at them too intensely, and they become all we can see. Before long, we can’t see any light or goodness at all. Such was the case with a woman who’s been a cherished friend for over 30 years.
A single mom since 1997, she’s raised three sons on her own. Two of them are now grown men, with wives and families of their own. The youngest is a high school senior with a promising future. Or, so we thought . . .
Recently, “Dana” told me her youngest has become involved with drugs. He’s not longer wrestling on his high school team – which has been his passion for years. He has resumed a relationship with a young woman whom he had previously decided was bad for him. This trend could destroy his dream of going into the Marines after graduation. Needless to say, his mother’s heart is broken over this.
For me, the saddest part was hearing the total despair in Dana’s heart as she told me about these changes. She could only see those things that have gone wrong in the last 17 years. The horrible abuse that caused her to leave her marriage in the first place. The awful, hurtful things her ex-husband said to her over and over again. The years of financial struggle. The problems she had with her two older sons when they were teenagers. The list went on and on.
Try though I might, I was unable to help her see the other side of things. The love and compassion she has shown her sons for 17 years. The fact that she’s managed to make a home for all of them all on her own. The rewarding job at which she is so good. The solid foundation she gave her sons. The pain and abuse she protected them from.
The truth is, a shadow cannot exist without light. Some sort of light source must be present in order to cast a shadow. For Dana, there’ve been many light sources: her older sons have productive, happy lives; her kids love her and appreciate what she does for them; her younger brothers adore her; and she was recently named employee of the year at work. She’s talented and creative. She is good at her job, reliable, and loved by her clients.
Dana has never lost sight of her priorities; never lapsed into that temptation to focus her attentions only on herself. For 17 years, she has made sure that those boys knew that she loved them, and would do all she could to provide for them and protect them from harm.
Despite all these positive things, Dana sees only the shadows. Only her shortfalls and mistakes. Only what’s wrong in her world. How often do WE do that? How often do we allow disappointment and sorrow to take hold and consume us? How often do we look so hard at the shadows that we can’t see any light at all?
We’ve all done it, at one time or another. In that state, we forget a critical fact: total darkness isn’t possible in our everyday world. Oh, sure, you can find it in the depths of a cave, but not where we live every day. If we take the time, and put forth the effort, to REALLY look, we would find the light source. Even on the darkest night, the stars lend light to our world. When those stars are covered by clouds, those clouds reflect the city lights below them. Somewhere, just outside the shadows you see, there is light.
God Himself SPOKE that light into being when He created this Earth. Genesis 1, verse 2, tells us, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” When God created light, He obliterated that void. Things had form, and the darkness was gone. Genesis 1, verses 3-4, tell us, “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.” That act changed everything for this world, for all time.
Today, the Lord is the source of all light in our lives. Every day, he stands ready to show us the way. Just beyond all those shadows you see, He waits for us. He wants to show us all the beauty and joy that await us in the Light.
If your life seems filled with darkness and shadows, turn around. Start looking in other directions. The light source that cast that shadow is there somewhere. LOOK for it until you find it. Once you locate it, focus on it, walk toward it. Within the warmth of that Light are peace, comfort, and protection. They can help you cope with the shadows. Seek them out . . .
See you next time . . .
To His Glory . . . BJ Reese
Hill City Area Ministries, Inc.
A South Dakota Non-Profit Corporation
Income Tax Deductible IRS 501 (c) (3) Organization