O Lord, I thank you for the light that shines from within! Help me this day to recognize the several points of light that shine within me: the light of faith, the light of hope, the light of love! Regardless of whether or not the sun is shining or the rain is falling, remind me that there is a light that you have given me that will never go out. Help me through my life to brighten the world of the depressed, to glow in a world of darkness and to shine when others struggle to find joy. Remind me that I have a light and that you have commanded me to let my light shine. In a time of war, may my light be a light of peace. In a time of hate, may my light be a light of love. In a time of poverty, may my light be a light of prosperity. In a time of scarcity, may my light be alight of abundance. Bless me this day to be a light to the world. Help me this day to let my light shine that all people might see your goodness, mercy and power, shining through what they see in me. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.
~Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
I grew up in a neighborhood where it was common to experience one or two power outages a week. We considered ourselves lucky if power was restored within a few hours. They happened at the most inconvenient of times, usually when families were coming home from long days at work or school.
This meant dinner was a challenge; there wasn’t extra disposable income to replace any spoiled food if we attempted to open the refrigerator. There wasn’t extra money to go out to dinner either. We were left to snacking, which didn’t fill us up. By the time the power came back on, it was often too late at night to eat dinner.
Power outages were a source of frustration, evoking comments similar to the following: “Oh, great! Must’ve been another drunk driver who took out our power lines again.” There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to it either. I can actually remember on more than one occasion when the opposite side of the street seemed to have lights on in almost every room, which was a shocking contrast to my side of the street that was shrouded in darkness. I was often envious of that side of the street where things never seemed to go wrong for those homes; it would’ve been nice to live on the other side of the street, in the light.
Completing homework assignments and studying was also difficult during power outages. We didn’t have the luxury of a backup generator like other families. I tried to do my work by candlelight, straining my eyes. They eventually adjusted as the flame from the candle actually appeared to grow brighter and stronger the longer it burned. The glow of the flame would literarily extend to transform and conquer darkness.
It’s often easier to have revelations in hindsight. Such is the case for me and those all too frequent power outages. Sitting in silence (without the distractions of the radio or television), my family was forced to enjoy each other’s company,something that rarely happens anymore.
It also afforded an opportunity to embrace the silence and offer it up to God in prayer. He is always willing and ready to listen. I should’ve used that time to offer my gratitude to God for all that I took for granted, namely, all that I had despite the darkness: a roof over my head, a loving family, and food to eat. Most importantly, I had God in my life.
Much like the candlelight, He has to the power to champion over sin and evil. Much like the divided street, one side consumed by the darkness and the other enveloped in light, God’s love and protection is warm and inviting. In much the same way that the candlelight won out over darkness, the community that is His Church works to spread the Word of God.
So, the next time I experience a power outage, I want to challenge myself to recognize the good in my life. It’s a chance to turn a seemingly negative situation into a positive, allowing myself to slow down and reset…to make sure God continues to remain a primary focus as the light in my life.