This Little Light of Mine

It was Good Friday. She walked into my office and sat down. So. She said. It’s Good Friday, so that’s when Jesus died. Right? And then he ascended on Easter Sunday. No. I said. Jesus died on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday, he arose from the dead. Then he ascended to heaven 40 days later. Oh. She said. I never get this straight, and I just want to make my mom proud.

The thing is. She and I have never had conversations about faith or the church or spiritual matters. Yet she walks into my office and asks me these questions as if she knows that I would know the answer. Why didn’t she ask someone else? Why would she think I knew the answer?

She is the one who speaks insults to others. She uses the f-bomb as casually as any other word in her vocabulary. She has a very poor work ethic. She bends the truth to suit herself. She gossips as if life depends on it. She has lived with boyfriend after boyfriend trying to find the one true love. She lied to her landlord about the dog living in her apartment. She’s unsettled. She’s looking for something to satisfy the deepest longing of her soul. She’s looking for something more. And yet she’s unaware that she’s looking.

I’m not judging her. I’m just stating the facts. But she’s watching. She’s listening. She’s paying far more attention than I gave her credit for. Oh. She sees what I do and what I don’t do. She hears what I say and what I don’t say. She knows that the two of us have little in common. Yet she comes to me with these questions.


Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16


I realize my life is on display. I’ve asked God repeatedly why he has me in this place. I’ve questioned the reasoning of his wisdom. He says stay. You are needed in this place. You are equipped to be there. Perhaps it’s not the work itself that has the most value for me. Perhaps it’s the light I bring into a dark corner of the world that is needed the most. Perhaps I am the instrument of peace and hope.

I find that in order for my light to shine in that small place, I must continually run to Jesus with my shortcomings and doubts. And perhaps in the midst of my frail humanity, others see a strong reliance upon the One who holds the whole world in his hands. Yet he also holds me at the same time.

I must never take for granted the work that I do. Or the place that I’ve been called to. God has a purpose. A plan for me that is bigger than my dreams or plans. I need to be obedient and willing to do as he asks. To share his love with the lost and lonely and hurting. With those who need his love and peace more than they need anything else.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
this little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
this little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

The Best of Me

We were asked to fast. Fast. As in give up food for 24 hours. What kind of request is that? Why would I give up food? Why? Here’s the thing. I love food. I. LOVE. FOOD. It’s my thing. I’m always planning my next meal. Even as a child, I hated to be hungry. I always wanted to eat when I wanted to eat. I still do. Some people eat to live. I live to eat.

And now. We’re being asked to give up food for 24 hours. I just don’t know if I can do that. Honestly. I don’t want to. Oh. I’ve done it before. And I didn’t like it. But everything isn’t always about me. So maybe I should shift my focus.

I think of the reason we’re being asked to fast. Instead of eating, it’s the turning to God and his word. To dig deeper in the well of God’s love. To recognize the sacrifice of a beloved Son whose sole purpose in life was to save my soul. To prepare our hearts to receive communion representing the broken body and spilled blood of our Savior. What am I willing to sacrifice?


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


When Solomon built the temple, he used the best wood and gold that money could buy. He didn’t skimp on anything. That temple was elaborate and ornate. He built that temple to last for many years. It was the house of God. The place where God lived.

When Solomon became king, he was a humble man. God told him that he could have whatever he wanted. Do you know what he chose? Wisdom. He asked God to make him a wise man. So God did just that. Solomon wanted to have God’s heart. So God honored his request.

But then. Life got in the way. Solomon married women who didn’t believe in this one true God. They served lesser gods. They worshiped idols. They offered sacrifices to fake gods. They pulled Solomon’s eyes off of the God of the universe. Solomon stumbled. His priorities shifted. He fell out of step with God. He lost his way. He quit offering his best to God.

I see myself in Solomon. Oh. I’ve never built a temple. I’ve never been the wisest person. But I do ask God for wisdom. I do seek God. I start off with great intentions. But life gets in the way. There are times I find myself looking away to lesser gods. To momentary pleasures that take my eyes off my Lord and Savior. I look to other things for comfort. For fulfillment. For happiness. But those things leaves me wanting more.

I must ask myself. Where is my best effort going? Is it going to God or to myself? If I’ve given myself to live for God, then he is living in me. Am I giving my best self for him? Right now we’re celebrating our Savior risen from the dead. And I can’t even give him my best. Why do I reserve the best part of me for things that don’t matter? 

Jesus gave his best for me. Why can’t I do the same for him? I know I’m not worthy. But he paid the ultimate price. For me. Can’t I offer the best of myself? Can’t I offer my simple sacrifice? Can’t I spare a day’s worth of food?

It’s in the breaking of the bread. The drink from the cup. In remembrance. We do this. We offer our humble, simple best. It’s all we have. Mixed with the brokenness of our humanity.

Perhaps my hunger. My empty stomach is just the turning point. Maybe in the surrender of the fast, I find that I do turn to this God who gave his only Son for me. My focus must shift to higher things. To unworldly things. To the one who died on that cross for me. He gave his life. Can’t I give up food for one day?

Fellowship of Suffering

What does it mean? The fellowship of suffering? I thought fellowship was a coming together of like minds. Enjoying the company of common ground. A friendly association with someone of like interests. But suffering? I’ve not really bought into that.

Honestly. The suffering that I’ve experienced probably isn’t true suffering. Compared to what I see and know of others. My life is mild. Oh sure. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. Fears. Loss. Discouragement. Trying times. Typical life difficulties.

But I’ve never hung on a cross and died. For myself or for others. I’ve never been spat on. I’ve never been stripped naked and forced to carry a heavy cross on my raw beaten back. I’ve never worn a crown of thorns. 

I’ve never received a life altering diagnosis.  I’ve never been handcuffed and stood before a judge.  I’ve never been served papers.  I’ve never been beaten.  I’ve never lost everything. Oh.  I’ve lost.  I’ve lost family members.  I’ve lost jobs.  I’ve lost friends. 

So what do I know of suffering?

I’ve never been put on trial for crimes I didn’t commit. And then sentenced to death. My mother never wept for my cruel death. 

Oh. I’ve been betrayed by those I thought I could trust. I’ve been handed over to others who carried out their own plans for me. I’ve had cruel words spoken to my face. I’ve been bullied.

But have I really suffered? Is it suffering when someone publicly outs me for words spoken in private? When I’ve felt safe to express my opinion but then publicly called on the carpet for it?

Where is the glory in suffering? Where is the fellowship? Is my suffering a product of my own doing? Or of my own undoing?


And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17


Elisabeth Elliott says that suffering is never for nothing.  There are hard lessons to learn during the time of suffering.  She says that suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.

I have to wonder if I’ve caused some of my own suffering. Am I my own thorn in my side? Do I blame God and others when I need to remove the mote from my own eye? Is my suffering another name for the thorn in the side I’ve been given? And can I get past the bitterness in order to use that thorn as a source of ministry to others just like me?

Will I look back on these days in awe and wonder that I survived without a scratch and thank my heavenly Father that I didn’t really suffer? Or will I realize that what I thought was suffering was not even a drop in the bucket of misery?   Only time will tell. 

What if my suffering is still in front of me. What if my current state of suffering really isn’t suffering at all.

I have to ask myself the question. What does my suffering produce? Does it lead to anger and bitterness? Lashing out at others about the unfairness of God? Trying to punish God for treating me so poorly? How could a loving God allow this? Or do I surrender in knowing that my God is carrying me through the depths of pain and loss and uncertainty? Do I find joy in a closer relationship with a God who loves me even when unexpected twists and turns come in life? Do I allow myself to be wrapped in the sweet arms of Jesus and just be held?

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? Romans 8:35

It’s in the surrender and acceptance of my situation that leads me to fellowship.  Once all the thought of getting even or standing my ground passes, the knowing of God’s love gives the sweet peace that nothing else matters.  The pain.  The loss.  The heartache.  The hurt.  The healing.  The new normal.  The surrender of my will to a loving God brings a sweet fellowship that surpasses everything else.  The trust that God will be with me every step of the way gives a calming peace to my soul.

Above All Else

God knew David. He knew the good. the bad. the ugly. God called David a man after his own heart. Even when David sinned. And he sinned badly. But what sin is good? But oh. David stole someone else’s wife. She became pregnant. So he had the husband killed. Lust. Adultery. Premeditated murder. And after all that, God still said that David was a man after God’s own heart.

And God was right. He always is. David is the only person who God says is a man after his own heart. For God knew that David would always do what God wanted him to do. Read it for yourself.

God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’’ Acts 13:22

To be the only one God mentions in that way says something. Oh. God knows everything. So he knows. He knows the intentions of your heart. Even before you do.

God knows if you will do everything he wants you to do.

I have to ask myself. Do I have a heart that runs after God? Do I seek him above all else? Where do my interests lie? Will I do everything God wants me to? Is it even possible? I mean. I want to. But. What are the choices here?

Oh sure. David was human. He messed up multiple times. He did things out of turn. But every time he found himself outside of God’s graces, he admitted it and ran back to God. He was God’s and God was his. No matter what. David served only one God.

Oh. David had his faults. But he had strengths that continued to draw him to God. He was loyal. He loved fiercely. He was humble. He was honest. He had inner strength. He took risks. He served only one God. He spent time alone with God.


How great you are, O Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 2 Samuel 7:22


There is something for us to consider.  When we fail.  When we disobey God.  When our sins are made known to us.  Who do we run to?  What god do we turn to?  Do we automatically run back to the God of the universe?  Or do we run to the god of the credit card?  Or the god of the bottle? Or the god of the trashy novels?  Or whatever that fake god is we run to to soothe our hurting hearts.

And does it work? That running to false gods? Does it take the pain away? Does it solve the problem? Does it lessen the anxiety? Does it pay the debt? Does it heal the relationship? Does it remove the sadness and unloved feelings?

If you’re not running after God’s own heart, then whose heart are you running after?  Your own?  Most likely.  Who else’s heart would you turn to?

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

Even then. There is a choice to make. We can always choose to run back to God even after we’ve run far from him. Even when we’ve committed those sins that break us. Even when we’ve hurt others and ourselves. God continues to love us and beckon us back. We can choose to have a heart for God. We can choose to run back to him. We can choose to do everything God asks us to do. We can.