Learning to Shine
Jesus, in Matthew 5, tells us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Sometimes, though, as we go through the Christian life, we lose our “shine”. We get dull. Rather than being a light to point people to Jesus, we blend in to the world around us.
I was thinking about “shining” on Saturday night. My daughter, Emma, and her friends went bowling after Homecoming (yep, not much to do in Largo, FL…). I almost turned around because the bowling alley looked deserted from the outside. But we walked in and realized it was because this was “midnight bowling” where the florescent lights were turned off and only black lights were turned on.
As Emma got deeper into the bowling alley, she got brighter. Her neon-coral dress glowed under those lights. It was pretty funny.
As I walked out, I thought about how, though Emma’s dress was bright, it didn’t glow like that at home while she was getting dressed, at the pictures before Homecoming, or at Homecoming itself. Nope, not until she stood under the black lights did that happen.
In the last two to three years, Emma’s relationship with God has grown steadily. She wakes up every morning and reads her Bible, she seeks out other believers for fellowship; before we moved here, she led a girls’ Bible study and was being mentored by godly women at our church. But, in those two to three years, life had been fairly easy for Emma. She was known at church and school, she was comfortable there. She had good friends and a familiar routine.
The move was tough on her because she had to leave so many amazing friends and influences. She left a school where she had a fabulous group of long-time friends, a church where she was plugged in and involved. She could have easily gotten angry at us – and God – for taking her away from all that. But, in what has probably been the “darkest” time for her personally, Emma has chosen to shine. She has chosen to cling to God even through the tough times. And God has blessed her for it – not just with tangible blessings, although there are those, but with internal, soul-deep blessings that will last for eternity.
And, sometimes, that’s why God allows us to experience difficulties: He wants to strengthen us, to grow us, refine us, bless us, so we can shine even brighter for Him.
So if you’re like Emma, and going through a “dark” time, don’t hide in the shadows, don’t allow the darkness to win. Stand under the “black lights” of your trial and SHINE!