Snuffed and stifled, but still shining

The weatherman predicted a massive windstorm nearly three days before it was to arrive here on Whidbey Island. Locals all around the area were in preparation mode for possible power outages. The limits of my preparedness were to ensure we had two things: water and light. Jugs were filled, candles spread about, and I pulled out my old hurricane lamp from deep within a cupboard. As I dug this lamp out and dusted the glass off, I intentionally placed it atop an open and flat surface. It was ready to be lit up and shine if the electricity was to fail. Turned out, it wasn’t needed. The epic windstorm never came, but the lesson of a hurricane lamp did.

Regardless of how dim your light gets, due to discouragements, disasters, or disappointments, to bury it is foolishness. “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light” (Luke 8:16). Not only is that verse common sense, but it’s so absolutely simple that even our dull minds can comprehend the truth of it. Unfortunately, these dim and dull minds of ours can cloud up even the clearest case of an item on our “to do” lists. In this case, it’s damningly clear; we cannot hide.

We cannot slink away, drown ourselves in the cultural pool of busyness (work, sports, family, politics, diets, screen time, crafting, cooking, etc.) and expect that our overconsumption of any time taker will suffice in place of the Creator of this light we’re adorned with. Of course, there are some who are mature enough to incorporate all of these commitments into, ultimately under, Him; however, my uneducated guess would be that there are those of us who lean on them for our sustenance. Who are we without a purpose? Without the satisfaction of feeling as though we created, and completed, something on our lists of past, present, and future accomplishments? Where would we be with no labels to affix?

The thing is, there is always a storm brewing and we’d best be prepared to place our lamps where they ought to be. The light that God has given us isn’t meant to be stored away, buried behind other trinkets and blocked by numbing coping mechanisms. This light we have has its own “to do” list. It can’t be starved for air by being shut in a closed jar, for fear it’ll burn out completely. Nor can it be hidden under a bed, for fear it’ll not be seen until the fire burns bigger than we intended. As with my hurricane lamp, it’s just a small flame, but is protected and purposed for one reason only: to shine through the darkness.

In this world of windstorms and various other works of His almighty hand, we are reminded all too frequently of how little and utterly dependent we are in the face of disaster. Amidst all of the haze and busyness craze, we can allow ourselves to be consumed to the point of feeling like deserting our lamps. If not completely snuffing the light out, we dive deeper into the dimming of it until the Spirit reignites us. We can promise to remember where we hid our lamps, swear that we’ll dig them out to be lit once again, aspire to shine in sharing the gospel of Christ Jesus without fear of rejection or humiliation; but without His sustaining grace to provide our perseverance, we’re going to be stifled.

As for me, I will keep my lamp on a stand. No weather forecaster is telling me to beware of power outages and bone chilling silence as all the items powered by electricity come to a halt; but the Creator who sustains the weather expects that of those who He’s given light to. We cannot hide. We cannot be silenced. We cannot be stifled or snuffed into the dark cupboard where no one can see our light. Some will never enter in to see the light, but we aren’t the deciding factor in who sees. We just shine for Him wherever we are, regardless of how downed and dimmed we may feel about how bright we’re shining. In our world, filled with temptations galore to escape, sometimes we just need to find our old lamps, let Him light them up again, and let them burn as they stand for all to see.

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