September 20, 2013
I watched the sun rising over the ocean from our cabin view. Like clockwork the sun began to soften the deep darkness of night with its 7am arrival. What a spectacular view it was! As the earth rotated, the sun began gently painting the horizon with a soft, gentle, buttercream yellow. I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of our predictable fireball and the brilliance of its light. I was acutely aware that we were the only ship on the deep ocean, at least as far as I could see in any direction. I cannot remember ever seeing such a magnificent burst of white light and wonder if it was due to the fact that there is nothing but ocean and sky as far as my eyes can strain to see. There is nothing for the bright sunlight beams to refract upon; nothing to stop the light from shining in all its glory. It was so bright that no matter how I tried, I could not look at the sun directly, but I could feel its warmth on my face.
For a moment, I realized that if we think of ourselves individually as lights that shine for others through God's loving grace, we can entertain the thought of how birght a light we would be for others. Can you imagine how many lives we have the potential to touch in a positive way if we could remove our own selfish ways and any negativity that would dim our spirits?
We are all, from time to time, caught up in negative moods or negative situations whether at home, in friendships and acquaintances, at work or out in the world we share with others. Shining with God's light feels like a difficult situation that is almost impossible. If we do find the strength to open our hearts and minds to God's love and grace, our light in this negative world shines far brighter. God's light shining through us has the potential to be a brilliant beam of light capable of touching so many lives in a positive way.
I remember, many years ago, a conversation with my friend, John, who told me, "There is no room for us to live an environment that suppresses our thoughts and destroys our joy in helping others." It is our duty to find ways to shine in the darkness and to help others find their way. John was right. I can only imagine the light God can shine through us if we are open to His loving grace. I can only imagine the blessings that would flow. I can only imagine the joy and peace we might bring to others when we remove negativity from our own thoughts and lives.
We are God's children created in His image to reflect God's light, His truth and His love. In the process of growing stronger in faith, I believe, removing negativity in each new day is one of many productive steps we can choose to make to be closer to God.
As I write my thoughts this morning, I am blessed to be lounging on a cruise ship, sensing the warmth of the sun on my face, feeling the gentle rocking of the waves and looking up to the brilliant blue sky. I am acutely aware I am totally in God's world surrounding by His sky, His ocean and His amazing sunlight. I realized this morning that in order for us to shine for Christ when we are living in a negative environment, it is important that we retreat from time to time. It is imperative that we let go of responsibilities and find a quiet place to connect with God. And finally, it is necessary for us to find a time in our daily schedules to "talk with God". When we remove all the negativity in our own thoughts and lives, we will shine brighter for Christ. Can you imagine how amazing that would be?
Dear Heavenly Father,
In your world, far away from the negativity of man, I find solace and peace. Your love overwhelms me as I am filled with your grace and sure in my salvation. Enter my heart and mind and soul when I am walking in a world of negativity so that I might be a beacon of hope and encouragement and peace for others. Shine through me, Lord.
In Jesus' Name,
New International Version (NIV)
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
New International Version (NIV)