Let Your Light Shine
I didn’t feel like writing. The publishing company that was soon to produce my book had filed bankruptcy, and was not going to be able publish my book after all. My writing appetite had been spoiled, and I was left with the after-taste of rejection and sorrow.
God’s blessings should not be taken for granted. Despite my feelings of hurt, loss, and rejection; I knew that God was going to use this as a part of my story, for his glory. Although it felt like alcohol disinfecting a knife wound, I chose to accept that God was up to something good. Climax elevation, or valley low; in any and all circumstances, God’s purpose is present. I hung onto the truth of Romans 8:28.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NLT)
Still, a cloud of doubt welled up in my soul. It was the voice of the enemy. I prayed that God would remove the fog, and remind me of his plans for me.
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Shortly after fervently praying for God’s direction, I found a note I had written over the course of the summer while leading my Women’s Bible Study. The study I lead was based on a Holley Gerth book that directed women to pursue their “God-sized dreams.” At the end of the study we each wrote a life mission statement. My read as follows:
“I am created and called to express my faith through love by writing books for women to read and grow closer to Christ.”
My prayer for God’s guidance was answered, and for that I was grateful. I had been running, and was out of breath, relieved to get off the treadmill of striving that I was on.
Running away from all that God has for you, or pursuing any plan other than God’s, is like being on a hamster wheel. You’re not going to get very far. In fact, it’s in those hamster on a treadmill moments that we begin to understand just how powerful God really is and how small we actually are. We begin to realize the essence of the Creator when we understand that God is omnipotent. His ways are for us, and his purposes will prevail.
God is in full control of any and every situation. When you feel scared, like your house of cards is falling, and the walls of the mansion around you begin to crumble; remember that God alone is able to restore. So stop trying to build a mansion out of gingerbread, and start seeking the wisdom of God; the fortification of his building plans.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
Impacting people’s lives for no other reason than for Christ is to fail. Somewhere along the way, I had taken a slight wrong, and had gotten lost. Wanting to matter had become my idol.
That wrong motivation rocked the boat of my life. When the waves began to lap over the sides, and my ship began to sink, I realized my nearly fatal mistake of attempting to grab the wheel and take The Captain’s place. In those moments, I was reminded of my deepest most desperate need; Jesus.
Everything in this life is about Jesus Christ, for his glory. The only name that matters is that of our Lord and Savior. Paul realized this, and lived his life courageously trying to make Jesus famous, pursuing righteousness along the way. In the face of death, Paul clung tight to his faith, praising Jesus’ name.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:20-21 (NIV)
Like the tide, there will be no end to trials and hardship on this side of heaven. We must embrace the storms of life; realizing that God is still watching over us, and may be trying to teach us. Christ has the ability to redirect our paths when we get lost and find ourselves in the dark. Even in darkest of places, Christ will be there with us, when we call upon his name.
In knowing that pain and suffering are part of the process of God’s plans, we can be joyful, prayerful, and thankful for his divine orchestration in our lives.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Pain will be present in this lifetime. We must draw near to God and depend on Jesus as our source of everlasting hope, and enduring love through it all. In knowing that earthly storms are yet to come, we can lean in on God’s truth and rely on His Word as our firm foundation.
In knowing that the world is place full of sin and darkness, we can choose to stand out and shine bright for Christ when everyone else is fading out, and into falling darkness.
When the world says we can’t make an eternal difference, we must listen to the voice of our Savior, and pursue The Kingdom Work that God surely has for us. We must make the choice to “Live Chosen;” to share the light, when the world says that we should hoard the light for ourselves. We must judge ourselves by Christ’s standard of godliness, not the world’s.
God is holy. We are not. Our every thought, action, and motive, should be put through the strainer of God’s holiness. God’s Word is our colander. If our actions or motives slip through the holes, they were not meant to serve the King.
We must learn to listen for the whisper of the Holy Spirit when the world around us is shouting profanity. Listening for the whisper of Christ in a noisy world is not an easy feat. To live according to God’s Word when the world constantly advertises an easier, more pleasurable route takes the strength and discipline of a godly woman. This can only be attained through Christ.
In response to Jesus announcing his departure, the disciple Thomas asked, “How can we know the way?” Jesus responded, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Christ goes on to reassure, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). With the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus commands his disciples to faithfully continue to live out his teachings after he is gone. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them” (John 14:21).
Although the pain of loss or rejection may not make sense in the moment, if we look at our past and pinpoint times that were painful, but necessary in order for something greater to be accomplished, we are able to see God’s hand through it all. Despite any present the darkness you may be facing today, God’s purpose for your life will prevail. God’s glory will shine through like the noonday sun. Seek his face, and all that he has for you.
Emotions of loss can remind us that no matter the trials we may encounter on earth, there is an everlasting joy and hope to be found through our Lord and Savior.
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again-
My Savior and my God!
Psalm 42:11 (NLT)
Praise leads to hope. Praise the Lord, and seek Christ daily. Through the thick and thin, hold steadfast to the hope of God’s promises.
Although we don’t always know why seemingly bad things happen, by revisiting the past, we can recognize God’s divine orchestration of triumph through former trials we have faced. In doing this, we can have hope that God will once again, lead us out of darkness, and into his glorious light.
Losing someone, or something dear to your heart is painful, indeed. There have been times in my life, when I have considered my circumstances, hopeless; the pain, too much to bear.
In my early twenties, after breaking up with my college boyfriend, I wandered around in darkness, looking for an end to the pain. After ever other fail-safe had been expired, I uttered one word, “Jesus,” and my life forever changed. In calling upon Christ’s name, Jesus was able to meet me there, in the dark. Although the pain did not immediately go away, Christ provided me his comfort, safety, wisdom, and guidance. He wants to do the same for you.
In whatever you are going through today, Christ has extended his hand, and it is time for you to take hold. Accept God’s grace, which is freely given, because Jesus loves you.
Before we continue on this faith journey, if you have never received Christ as the Light and Lord of your life, there is no better moment to do so than right now.
Pray This Prayer Out Loud:
Today I choose to live for you.
Forgive me of my past sins and mistakes. Make me new. Come into my heart. Enter into every area of my life, and be my King.
Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. You died on a wooden cross and rose from the grave to save me from my sin, so that I can be with you in heaven someday. I praise you for your love and sacrifice. Today I choose to live for you, and will glorify you forever in eternity. Thank you Jesus, for saving me. Amen
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)