“There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Have you ever heard this old adage? It seems to be most commonly used when someone is going through some challenging and dark circumstances. The tunnel, or darkness, is temporary and soon enough the circumstance will pass.
At one particularly challenging season in my career, the very short staffed and high responsibility team I was a part of used this saying, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m pretty sure it’s from an oncoming train.” There were many points in this season of work where it felt like breakthroughs were just around the corner, yet every corner we went around brought further breakdowns rather than breakthroughs.
Light for Today
Jesus brings life and light into today. There is no waiting to get to the end of the tunnel, no holding out in the darkness, hoping that it would pass.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can not overcome it.”
John 1:4-5 (NIV)
Jesus is life. Jesus is the light of all mankind. Jesus shines in the darkness and the darkness can not overcome it. We can have light today. No waiting required.
Here is another translation of the same verses.
“What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.”
John 1:4-5 (Message)
Darkness can not put out the light of Jesus. Isn’t that a great message of hope?!!
Think about all of the darkness in our world, or darkness in the circumstances of your own life. What is it that you feel might put you out or overcome you? What is it that feels dark to you?
No matter what it is, Jesus’ light can still shine into your life. The darkness can not over come or put out that light.
It is a hot, sunny, summer day where I live. I took this picture of the sun shining through the tree in our yard. The tree can try as it may to block the sun, but the sun is just too bright and keeps shining through.
I realized today that Jesus is like the sun in this picture. He’s just shining away as bright as can be. It’s as if the tree represents the challenging circumstances in life. A branch for those financial struggles. A branch of physical limitations. A branch of strained relationships. A branch of stress and burdensome responsibilities at work. Branches all trying to block the light, but not completely.
Just because Jesus shines His loving light upon us does not mean that we will be free of struggles, or free of strife, or even free of sin.
It is Easier to See in the Light
If I was going to go about trimming this tree, I certainly would not do so in the middle of a cloudy night. I would be more likely choose a sunny spring or fall day to do it. Today looks nice, but factor in the heat and humidity…not exactly optimal.
I believe it is the same with our circumstances, they are easier to survey and work on in the light. Jesus will help us to see things in a different way; will light the path for us to walk upon, and can shine upon issues that cause us to struggle.
I also believe the light of Jesus can help us to see blessings in the midst of painful circumstances. When finances are tight and burdensome, light shows us the blessing of a friend’s invitation to come over for dinner. When physical exhaustion is draining, light shows us the blessing of time to nap. When loneliness clouds our hearts, light shows us the blessing of a stranger’s smile or the text message from a friend.
You Get a Light to Shine
Here is one of the most amazing things about the light of Jesus. He shines on us, so that we can shine on others. I love how the Message translation describes the light we have been given.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:14-16 (Message)
You have a radiant, beautiful, and precious light to shine.
Shine Where You Are
We each have a vibrant light. Everyone has a place that they currently find themselves in. It is in that place where we are to shine, for as long as we are there. In your position, in your location, in your home, in your neighborhood, in your situation, that is the light stand upon which you are to shine.
I have to confess that I struggle to stay focused on the hear and now. I can drift away, lost in my own mind jumbled in plans for the future. My train of thought often runs over the tracks humming, “what’s next, what’s next, what’s next.” Not that planning is a bad thing, but too much focus on preparing leaves little energy for being present.
I have a habit of hoping for things in the future, “after this”, or “once this happens” or “if I could only change this first.” A leader of mine once told me I “spent too much time aiming and not enough time shooting.” I interpret this to mean I can consume great deals of time getting ready to shine, trying to create optimal circumstances, and not enough time actually shining.
This is something that I have really been working on over the past several years. It is hard for me to let good enough actually be good enough; to find some semblance of balancing achieving absolute excellence and pushing for progress. The truth is everything that I do on a daily basis could probably be done better in some way, but I do not have the time, talent, and treasures to make everything better at once.
I can shine my light each and every day, right where I am at. Even if my situation and circumstances change, I can always shine my light. You can shine yours too, every day.
Maybe today you shine just for your family, because that is where you are at. Perhaps you shine from an office, or shine in a hospital bed, or shine throughout a store you work in, or shine out of a drive-thru window, or shine in a factory line. You could shine for a class room of kids or children in a household daycare. Perhaps you shine from the stage or shine for those behind the scenes.
Every light is precious and every light is needed right where it is at. Your have been placed for such a time as this, a public light bearer, shining for others to see.
The light of Jesus will shine vibrantly for you TODAY. No waiting required, no tunnel to make it through, no circumstance so bleak that can overcome His light. The light of Jesus is a light to live by today.
Thank You for so vibrantly shining Your light upon us today. Thank You for the ways You can shine through the darkness. Lord, there are times when our circumstances feel consuming, when we fear the darkness will overcome us, crush us and destroy us. Lord, it can feel like we are in a long dark tunnel, barely able to make out the light. When it feels that way, please break through those feelings and draw our eyes to Your light.
Lord, help us to not just soak in Your light, but to pour it out as well. Help us to be bold, shining publicly, in whatever circumstances, positions, and situations that we find ourselves in. Help us to not wait, hoping for better conditions to come before we shine. May we shine each day where ever our lamp stand is placed.
In the radiant & vibrant name of Jesus, amen.