I'm Gonna Let It Shine

NOW LET’S BE HONEST…God loves to surprise us.

Sometimes the Lord provides us with little instances in life that leave us surprised by joy, moments that we couldn’t have possibly expected nor can we possibly explain that end up providing us with a new perspective on the world around us or just leaving us with a smile on our face that had previously been neutral. Recently a friend of mine taught me her term for instances such as this – Diosidencia – and I think it’s quite fitting. The word is a Spanish combination of “God” and “coincidence,” I believe, but I prefer to think of it as simply “God” + “incident,” purely because I am hesitant to attribute anything to coincidence when an Almighty Creator oversees the consistent goings-on of His beloved creation. Thus Diosidencia has become a beautiful thing to me, something I think that is best described through the words of Ovid: “The cause is hidden; the effect is visible to all.” God occasionally decides to sneak attack us with surprise moments of beauty, leaving us to ponder on His majesty for seconds, minutes, hours, and perhaps even days to come, and I think it’s important to acknowledge these instances and give thanks for each and every one of them.

Such was the case yesterday, when I had a Diosidencia that still has me reeling today. The sun was smiling down on God’s wonderful world, not a cloud was visible in the topaz blue sky, and rays of heat pressed against my skin as I walked across campus, ready to sit down for the few minutes I had in between classes so I could start penning the early thoughts of a blog post that was beginning to formulate within my mind. The weather was as perfect as it could be and I felt like Superman recharging his power underneath the rays of the yellow sun, and I was just in a great, great mood.

Just close your eyes and imagine that for a moment. Utter bliss.

Then, as I was walking, I happened to stumble across a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. He was heading out of one of the dining halls and asked what I was up to, and next thing you know, I found myself sitting across the table from him engaging in the typical “What haveyou been up to? How are classes going?” conversation that is typical for the busy college student. Talks about our studies and busy schedules eventually evolved into talks about our walks with God, and soon that progressed into some deeper, metaphor-ridden theological discussion regarding the necessity for the Christian to rebel against passivity and start making a change within the broken world we live in.

“It’s like the world is a sky filled with clouds,” my friend said as he bit into his Chik-fil-a sandwich, “And we just need to be that sunlight that pokes through to shine some light on them.”

I squinted at him against the sunlight for a moment, considering what he was saying. “I think I might have to disagree with you there,” I replied at last.

He looked to me. “Why is that?”

I smiled, cupping my hand over my eyes so that I could stop squinting. “I would say that what you just described is what the Church is currently doing – we are the little ray of sunlight amongst a cloud of cold, cold gray. But aren’t we called to be the light of the world? A single beam passing through some clouds can’t light up the entire planet.” I motioned my hands outwards, looking up to the sky. “We need to shine so bright that we are like the sun shining on a cloudless day like today, where our lights are so bright and magnificent that people have to squint just to see. We need to shine so bright that the darkness stands no chance at subduing us. A faint light is easily visible in a dark room, but we need to shine so bright that we stand out even when the room is at its brightest.”

“We need to be like the moon, reflecting the sun’s light,” my friend said, smiling in agreement.

“I’d have to disagree again,” I replied, and I’ll admit that this time I was perhaps just being obstinate. “The moon is too far away from the sun. If we are the Christians we claim to be, we can’t just reflect the Son’s light from afar; we need to be the rays of sun themselves, emanating directly from the source and carrying its message directly down to earth. We need be in close intimacy with Christ, to start with Him and then proceed to carry His message to the people, not merely serve as a reflection of what we are called to be. The Bible says that through salvation we become one with the Son, so why should we simply settle for being a reflection when we can be the direct messenger?”

And that was my Diosidencia. I think that so often, we as Christians settle for mediocrity in proclaiming our faith and proclaiming the Gospel, doing the bare minimum we have to in order to feel that we have in some form or fashion accomplished Christ’s final command to us in the Great Commission. (To be honest, many Christians settle for mediocrity even before they reach this step, becoming satisfied that their own souls are saved and not bothering to show any initiative to go out and save others.) And in my own opinion, I think that settling for mediocrity is in and of itself a form of passivity, and if not that, it’s at least the first stopping point on a path that leads to passivity, so I think it’s something we need to reject. We shouldn’t be satisfied with just shining through the clouds; we need to shine so bright that people have no choice but to be aware of that light’s presence. We need to be the sunbeams that people look along to point towards the source of that light.

I think of C.S. Lewis’ “Meditation in a Toolshed.” For those of you who haven’t read it, I highly recommend giving it a look-over, but I’ll summarize it here: Lewis reflects on a time when he was standing in a dark toolshed and a beam of light passed through a crack at the top of the door. When merely looking at the beam, he noticed that it stood out like a sore thumb, causing everything that surrounded it to fade to blackness. But when he moved ever-so-slightly so that the beam fell onto his eyes, the entire previous picture vanished as the light overtook his vision; as his eyes adjust, the leaves of the forest and the nature beyond the door begin to come into view. “Looking along the beam, and looking at the beam are very different experiences,” Lewis concludes.

This, I think, it how we should be as Christians. If we are to be the light of the world, we should be those beams of light that people can look along if they want to see the source of that light! If you look at a sunbeam and trace it back towards it source, you will see a light so blinding and so pure that it will imprint itself upon your retinas even after you look away. Shouldn’t we be the same for Christ? We should shine for Jesus in the very same way, so that if people look at us, we stand out like a light amidst the darkness, but when they begin to look through us, they see the true source of the light, Jesus Himself. And if every Christian can pursue this Christlikeness, then all of a sudden there won’t be any room for clouds to get in our way, because no cloud will be able to overpower our light! We will be shining so brightly that the mere intensity of the beams will be enough to make people squint; when they turn towards the Son, it will make so much more sense where our light comes from! We shouldn’t simply reflect Him, but we should be spitting images of Him, carrying His message millions and millions of miles through the darkest darkness imaginable so that we can shine light on a broken and empty world.

Notice that while the sun might keep on burning, it’s those beams of light that keep us alive. Those rays carry with them the warmth that bring us comfort, and if there was no mediator between us and the sun, humanity would literally have no means of survival! We would immediately freeze to death, dead in but an instant. The sun can keep on existing, but unless those beams do their job, the world is gone and there’s no hope for us. And this, I would say, is how it is with our ministry: Jesus has done His part, and now He’s left it to us to keep things rolling. If we don’t spread our light and our warmth, then how can we expect this world to truly be alive? We have to rid ourselves of nighttime and give birth to the day, awakening people from their sleep to show them the brightest and sunniest day they could have ever imagined. This is our calling, and this is our Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” Jesus said, “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

If we truly have faith in Jesus and we truly do love Him, shouldn’t we want to do this? If we truly do love those people that we all our brothers, our sisters, our husbands, our wives, our friends, our families…shouldn’t we want to do this for them? Let my encouragement to you be loud and clear: Reject passivity and embrace your role as the messenger of the Son! You are ambassadors of Christ, according to the Bible, so represent Him in all you do! Don’t be satisfied because You invited a friend to church or satisfied because you learned to quote a Bible verse – never stop persisting, never stop spreading, never stop living for Christ. No retreats. No reserves. No regrets.

Be happy but never satisfied. Be happy with what God has done and eternally grateful with what He has given you the ability to do, but never be satisfied with what you’ve accomplished and assume that your work here is done, nor that His plans have come to their conclusion. There is much to be done in this world, for sadly many clouds still dot our sky. So shine bright, my friends, because we need to start breaking through those clouds and shooing them away. Shine brightly and proudly and make it your goal to be the best dang Christian and best dang child of the Father that you can be. You’ve been given one life here on earth, so don’t waste even a single second of it. There is too much work to be done to remain idle.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

I’ve decided that it’s time to go out and spread some light. I pray that you’ll join me.