There is a song we sing in church that goes, “Set a fire down in my soul, that I can’t contain, that I can’t control.” And when I am in church I feel it there blazing like a signal fire that can be seen by astronauts. Then I leave the sanctuary where I meet friends and discuss lunch plans in the foyer and it indubitably morphs into a largish bonfire. By the time I’ve eaten lunch and am reviewing the upcoming week’s schedule and budget, the blaze has been reduced to a controlled flame in a fireplace. By noon Monday even that is banked. By Friday I’m lucky to have a candle-sized flame flickering to stay alive.
Can you relate?
But as Saint Francis of Assisi wrote, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” That is all it takes. Faith the size of one candle. When darkness (uncertainty, death, sickness, weariness, responsibilities, unbelief) is all around, the light of one candle (a kind word, a helping hand, a free cup of coffee, a listening ear) offers hope. Especially when that candle leads the way to a bigger light, a real light, a shadow-destroying light. The Light.
Even if we can’t hold on to the uncontainable fire from Sunday, surely we can nurture a little candlelight. A votive or tea light will do. Those of us who have felt the dark know the value of even the smallest hope. Our light is all the more precious for having flickered in the dark but continuing to shine. “My Light shines most brightly through believers who trust Me in the dark,” is one of my favorite Sarah Young quotes.
We all have the ability to shine. We don’t have to do great works, spout jaw-dropping theology, or even preach a sermon. We shine by loving God, loving our neighbors, and being who God created us to be. Maybe, just maybe, if we do those things day in and day out, we’ll find a fire down in our souls that blazes all week long.
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
John 12:46 NLT
Are you feeling more like a blaze or a little flicker? I’d love to hear your comments.