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  • Writer's pictureHope Stuart

Your Light... World HOPE

Imagine our lives without light. At the very least, our lives would be very limited and mostly gray. Light brightens our homes and illuminates our way. Light punctuates colors and enhances our views. Yet, as we dive deeper, light is the very essence of life. It is the powerhouse for our plants, trees, fruits and veggies… the foundation of our survival. Simply put, no light… no life.

I love Melanie Shankle’s devotional about her mountain laurel trees. It especially resonated with me because my father’s family has picked mountain laurel commercially for several generations. Melanie boasted how her newly planted trees bloomed with amazing lavender blossoms (blossoms “that smell like grape soda”) for the first few years. She joked about her “tree pride” and how her neighbors must have had “tree envy” as they passed by their home. However, as time went on, she noticed less and less blooms. Her tree pride waned as her trees struggled to produce blooms and less of that grape soda smell. After calling a tree expert, he concluded that layers of mulch and dirt caused the roots to be buried so deep that they weren’t getting enough light. After the expert uncovered the roots to receive the proper amount of light, the blossoms returned and the scent of grape soda once again filled the air around their home. More light… more blossoms… more grape soda smell… more HOPE!

Not only is light key to physical life (and Melanie’s trees), but it’s also attached to our spiritual well-being. While light diminishes the darkness of our surroundings, it also extinguishes our spiritual darkness. We naturally associate light with good and darkness with evil. Our spirit seeks out light while avoiding darkness. When we find ourselves in a dark place, physically… and spiritually... we move toward the light. When night is upon us, we look forward to morning as it represents, not only a new day, but a new beginning… new HOPE. Light nourishes our soul; providing us HOPE for things to come.

With faith, comes a new perspective on light. As believers in Christ, we carry the light of Jesus in and through us. One of my favorite Bible verses is Matthew 5:14: You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. For the last 25 years, I have gone to this verse when I needed this reminder for my soul. In Christ, we are meant to be a beacon of light for other. Not only do we EMBRACE God’s light… we BECOME a light for those we encounter daily. We hold the power to become some else’s HOPE each and every day. That’s powerful stuff!

We experience social opportunities where we can share our light with others on a daily basis. We can start with our family. Ironically, our loved ones sometimes feel our light the least. However, it is those we love that need our light the most. Our light can be shared through a simple hug or encouraging words. Especially during this pandemic, we need to give and receive our loved one’s light. Our co-workers and peers can also benefit from our light. Now, more than ever, people are under an overwhelming amount of stress. Our light may come from an unexpected cup of coffee or an offer of assistance on a project with a fast approaching deadline. In school, it can be as simple as offering a seat in the cafeteria or as powerful as standing up to a bully in the locker room. And… when we share our light in the community, it can represent a donation of snacks for needy families or organizing a coat-drive. Whenever we have the opportunity to go the extra mile in our homes, workplaces, schools or community, we are shining our light on someone else's path.

God gives us so many opportunities to share our light in simple, yet powerful ways. It’s up to us to act on those opportunities; not allowing them to pass by. It is God who meets us in our dark places to lead us to His light. He models for us how to light the way for others. God’s light is everlasting and omnipresent. There is an unlimited supply for us and those around us. In Christ, we have the power to pour out our light into some else’s darkness. I love that! Let your light shine in all situations because you never know how much darkness someone is experiencing. Your light can make the difference in someone else’s day… perhaps their life. There’s a lot of power and HOPE in the light we share with others.

Recently, our son experienced a dark time in his life. His passion is baseball, yet he was struggling with his confidence. He told us that when he was at the plate, he lost who he was… he equated it to having an out of body experience. His mind was cluttered with negative thoughts about striking out, not getting on base, and letting his team down. It took some lengthy conversations for us to realize he had taken God out of his game. He took his focus off of God; allowing darkness to set in. We reminded him that in ALL things, we are to give God the glory. Matthew 5:16 reminds us: In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We read devotionals that reminded him to keep his focus on God; filling his mind with positive thoughts, not negative ones. Those positive thoughts remind him what TO DO, not what NOT TO DO. Putting our focus on God enables us to have an eternal focus. When we give God the glory, it’s NOT about us… it’s about HIM.

Once again, it was Melanie who came to the rescue with her devotional about letting your light shine bright. In this devotional, she shares Dabo Swinney’s quote to his players when Clemson won the National Championship. He told reporters after the game that he kept telling his players to let their inside light “shine brighter than the light that was on them”. Dabo was reminding his players that their God-given light had to be brighter than the spotlight on them… BEAUTIFUL! When we give God the glory, the focus is on Him and not ourselves. Our focus is on sharing our light with others, not shining the light on ourselves. Where we focus our light makes ALL the difference to those around us. This is a life lesson that our son will take with him, whether he is in school or at home plate, furthering his career or taking care of his family… for the rest of his earthly life.

What we do lives on in the lives of others.Sharing our light makes ALL the difference.Sharing our light gives others HOPE.When we take our focus from ourselves and turn to God, our perspective is transformed.We focus on sharing, not receiving.We focus on helping, not hurting.We focus on loving, not lusting.We become love, light… HOPE.Here’s the best part… our light can inspire others to share their light.Whether it’s just a smile or… going The Smile Mile (the extra mile), we have the God-given ability to become a source of HOPE in our world.Share your God-given light with the world each day.You will be amazed at how your light can make our world one that is filled with HOPE… drenched in LIGHT.

Heartfelt thanks goes to Wendy Robinson for sharing her light... via her photos!

Wendy Robinson Co. Photography

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