Shine, Jesus, Shine.
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world. ~ Chris Rice
No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33
I was reminded last weekend when two of our youngest grandchildren were visiting how early in our lives we learn the difference between light and dark. I had almost forgotten how daunting the darkness can feel until the girls, ages two and four, gave me specific instructions about how bright their nightlight needed to be. But then I remembered drifting off to sleep as a little girl to the distant sound of the television in another room and just a sliver of lamplight shining down the hall into my bedroom. My parents were still awake. All was well, and I felt safe only to wake up a few hours later after they had turned off the lights, terrified of the silence and the darkness.
Even a little light can illuminate a dark place—ours. That God chose that particular word picture to explain Christ’s role and our job description thereafter is worth our serious contemplation. He did indeed want to be sure we understood. I guess that is why he made it simple.
Light makes its debut in verse three of Genesis, and it is referred to over and over and over again throughout scripture, but never more notably than this: “Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Will have the light of life? What a deal!
Does it hit you in the same way it hits me? Our calling, then, is to take the Light we have been given so very generously every place we go, every day we are given to every person we meet. Unlike some of the containers in my refrigerator that probably needed to be in the trash a month ago, there is no expiration date on this Light! Then there’s this: “The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
We live in a culture that has grown increasingly dark over the last decade or so. It is very easy to be disheartened as we watch the daily battle, a conflict between two distinctly different worldviews—the secular and the Christian. When all the noise starts to make you feel anxious, it is crucial to remember the omnipotent and eternal God we serve, the resurrected Savior we love and the powerful Holy Spirit among us. We know, without a doubt, how this story will end even though we don’t know everything that is going to happen between now and then!
I can’t wait for you to dive into this issue. Dr. Roger Parrott is one of my favorite people. Belhaven University’s revival during his tenure is the perfect Easter cover story because there is redemption and abundant blessing all over the place. There IS a younger generation who are being equipped in mighty ways to carry the Light of Christ into every sector of today’s competitive and very secular world.
Every month for the last fifteen years I have seen the way regular people take the Light of Christ into the world meeting needs, starting businesses, doing ministry and using the gifts God gave them to impact the lives of others. This issue is filled with such stories proving to me that for a Believer, life cannot be compartmentalized into the “secular” and the “Christian” arenas. Christ is Lord over all—or He is not Lord over anything. Hold that thought as you read on.
One more thing: Impact isn’t always about earth shaking headlines. I am convinced that the Light of Christ within sometimes jumps out and touches others in ways that we light-bearers never know in the here and now. I love the lyrics to the song “Carry Your Candle.” If you know Jesus, you have a bright candle in your hand. Light up the darkness around you—that’s all He calls each of us to do.
Happy Easter. He is Risen. We are forgiven. That is the best news ever!