Growing in God and Inspiring Young Women Through Faith and Fashion

Tag: shine a light

Turning on the Light in a Dark World

Several weeks ago, it was a high school in Parkland, Florida. Yesterday, it was a high school in Maryland. These school shootings are happening all over America.  Innocent kids and teachers are dying or suffering from scarring physical and mental injuries.

And our response is a chaotic mess of noise. We blame guns. We blame mental illness. We blame politicians. Perhaps there is fault in all of these things. We can certainly do better.

But what if it’s something more? 

Where is God?

When tragedies like these happen, our first response is usually to send our thoughts and prayers. Of course, this is a loving and powerful thing to do, but it does beg the question–where is God in all of this?

Is He there? And if He is, then how can God be good if He allows such evil to happen?

Gideon asked these same questions in the book of Judges when Israel was under the oppression of the Midianites. Gideon was a humble man chosen by God to deliver the Israelites, but first, Gideon had to get some things off of his chest.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:12-13 NIV).

To Gideon, it didn’t seem like God was with them. In fact, he felt abandoned by God. In today’s world, it can be easy to feel like God has abandoned our nation. With all of the violence, hatred, and immorality, America seems to have lost its connection with God.

But that was also Israel in the book of Judges. They had turned far away from God to worship false idols, so God let the Midianites oppress them. All of this was part of a redemption story to save God’s people from their sin.

America, it’s time to wake up to your redemption story. It’s time to turn on the light.

Created for Light

Check out God’s response to Gideon’s cries.

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14 NIV)

We look at this dark world and wonder where God is. But God created us to shine as lights in the darkness. As Christians, sometimes it seems easier to just sit back and relax until we get to heaven.

But that’s not our calling.

We must be the light that pierces through this dark world. When the world cries violence, we cry peace. When the world cries hatred, we cry love. And when the world cries bondage, we cry freedom.

God is sending you and I to bring His people back.

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Lead the world back to God

Our One Job

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

We are living in a dying world, and this country obviously can’t heal itself solely through laws and protests. We need the only cure for sin–Jesus Christ.

This Jesus, who died a gruesome and humiliating death on a cross to save us, has called us to go out and shine a light for Him. God has done His job. He has made salvation free and available to all who will come to Him.

Our job is to make this salvation known.

This world is dark, and sometimes downright scary. But if we choose to follow Christ, a powerful light resides in us that can vanquish any darkness and fear. It will shine through our actions and our words.

This is why we were created, and this is our job. This world isn’t going to cure itself, but we can lead it to the only One who can.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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What Suicide Can Teach Us About Being a Light

Some of you may be surprised how hard I’ve been hit by the tragic news of the suicide of Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park. This was a band I listened to during my adolescence, a time of turmoil and angst like it is for many other teens. I didn’t really know the Lord during my early teens, and so secular music was all I listened to. This was a band that helped me through some pretty rough times.

Suicide Affects Everyone

Chester Bennington died in a tragic way that no one should ever have to experience. He committed suicide. He hanged himself. Sounds pretty heavy, right? Not something we tend to talk about in prayer circles or Sunday breakfast clubs.

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with our culture.

Bennington is not the only celebrity to suffer from depression and commit suicide. Think of Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, or L’Wren Scott.  Think of the rise in Christian pastors  struggling with depression and suicide.

Suicide isn’t just something that happens to “really messed up” people. It happens to our neighbors, our pastors, our friends, and our family. And now with shows like 13 Reasons Why, suicide and self-harm is more glamorized than ever. Suddenly young people are becoming desensitized to the consequences of these actions. After all, what harm could it be if all of the celebrities and cool TV characters are doing it?

The most important thing to remember is that suicide is never an isolated incident. We all feel the ripple effects, whether we are close family, a neighbor, or a fan of the person’s art. Suicide affects everyone.

The Calling

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that after a celebrity or prominent person of society dies or commits suicide, suddenly everyone decides that now is the time to reach out and show their love. I’m not saying that it is bad to pay your respects when someone dies, or that it means you didn’t do anything to help when they were alive. But if you take a moment to search Chester Bennington’s name in Twitter, you will find an outpouring of love and concern that you just normally wouldn’t see.

The question I’m wondering is, why can’t we always be like this?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 14-16 NIV)

 

As Christians, we have an amazing calling. We are called to be lights in this dark world. Imagine a world where every Christian encouraged at least one person every day. Instead of just waiting for tomorrow, why aren’t we expressing our love for one another right now? Why aren’t we forgiving one another and expressing our love today?

I don’t say this to be critical. I say this because I know I need it too. One of Linkin Park’s latest songs is called One More Light, and I find it to be a song of both sadness and inspiration. It’s a wake-up call, for you and for me.

Becoming The Light

I struggled with depression in high school and college, especially when my chronic health issues developed. Thankfully I have been healed of it by God’s grace, therapy, and supportive family and friends. But I still remember how the darkness haunted me. I wasn’t pulled as deep into the shadows as some people are, but I know enough to realize that we can’t ignore this issue any longer.

We don’t have to wait until another person commits suicide to start caring about the depressed and those struggling with mental health issues. We don’t have to wait until one more light goes out before we do something. You and I can be a light for Jesus right now, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Just find one person to encourage today.

Find one person and tell them that they matter. Because every soul matters to God, and He wants their light to shine eternally.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

Note: If you or someone you know is depressed or feels suicidal, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. You don’t have to fight this alone. 

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