“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I might have.” —Abraham Lincoln
I had to take a few weeks off to regroup after my recent blog about April fools. Not that it doesn’t reflect my true feelings, but because I diverted from my mission. Let me assure you, all you wonderful people who sent me encouraging messages, although I’m frustrated with the direction this nation is taking, my spirit is still at peace.
Being at peace does not enable me to close my eyes to what’s happening in this nation. It stirs me to act, using the only weapons God has chosen to armed me with: words and prayer. Sometimes I feel as if I’m running through a forest of sleeping people, trying to wake them so they can flee an approaching tidal wave. But after posting my April Fool’s blog, I remembered, that’s not my job. My job is to remind people that there is light in the darkness for those who seek it. That there is hope, and love, and peace in this nation, regardless of what we see in front of us.
So this week, I present the April Fool’s antidote: light. It’s an increasingly rare commodity, but it’s something we all need in order to keep hope in our hearts. There’s light in each of us that we’ve been given to share, and when we do, it becomes contagious.
Sometimes it takes darkness to bring out the light. I’m reminded of the prophet Habukkuk, an oft overlooked character in the Bible with a heart for his country’s fools. Habukkuk became fed up with God for not “fixing” what was wrong with Israel. He accused God of taking a rather heartless stance against the Israelites, refusing to hear their cries for help.
God didn’t reply with sweetness, but basically said, “Habukkuk, my boy, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
The rest of the short story involves Habukkuk waging a futile argument to save his people despite their foolishness, and trying to show God the folly of his plan to have the Babylonians conquer the land—those stinking Babylonians who are even worse sinners than we are, thank you very much. But God assured him the Babylonians were on their way to enslave Israel. Eventually, the prophet realized he had only one recourse: trust God, regardless of his apparent senility.
So, Habukkuk looked for the light. He reviewed all the things God had done in the past for his people, from freeing the slaves living in bondage in Egypt to bringing them into a land of their own. And he reviewed all the promises God had made and brought to fruition. Then, despite all desolation and ugliness around him, Habakkuk vowed to continue praising God for his sovereignty and his goodness, and to trust God’s plan.
His spirit was at peace, even though the world was not.
That same peace is available to all of us. While it’s quite possible our country is about to suffer horribly for decades of bad decision-making and a tendency to race away from God, his people can still be at peace by remembering there’s more going on than what we see, and God’s plan for us is good. Review all God has already done in your life, and all the promises he has made. Not once did he promise that our lives will be easy, or that our loved ones will not suffer, or that the world will not crumble around us. But God has told you he knows what he’s doing, and you can trust him. He’s with you throughout all these troubles, and he’s going to bring you through it. But there’s more.
Once you find this peace, figure out what your job is in spreading it to others. Use whatever weapons God has given you to beat back the darkness. Be one of what former president George H.W. Bush referred to as the “thousand points of light.”
I thought of this when I heard a story on the radio this morning about a judge who sentenced a repeat-offender alcoholic and veteran to jail—and then spent the night with him. The judge, a fellow veteran, recognized the signs of PTSD, and while he had a legal obligation to sentence the man, he didn’t want him to be alone in that cell. Read about it here: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/n-judge-jail-vet-article-1.2612232
So, as the antidote to April Fools, let me tell you about a few other points of light I’ve heard about recently. People who understand how to beat back the darkness. As you read, ponder this: what are you doing with your light?
. . . A restaurant owner in Kochi India put a refrigerator outside her business so the homeless could help themselves. She kept the fridge stocked with unused food from her restaurant and it remained unlocked around the clock. Other restaurant owners started adding to the supplies. A steady stream of visitors partake of the food, but they each take only what they need. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2016/04/03/458925/India-Minu-Pauline-refrigerator-homeless/
. . .Two boys from Illinois helped a homeless man get out of the cold and talked one of their fathers into helping purchase a train ticket so he could visit his son. Two years later the man sent $10,000 to their high school to say thank you. http://abcnews.go.com/US/high-school-students-good-deed-spurs-10000-donation/story?id=38006234
. . .A café owner, when approached by a homeless man for food, offered him a job instead. The man, who couldn’t get work because of his criminal background, is quickly becoming one of her best workers. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/minnesota-cafe-owner-shows-homeless-man-job-not-the-door/
. . .A powerlifting former Marine befriended a 12-year-old girl with a rare disease and is now spending all his efforts to increase awareness of her disease so others do not have to suffer. http://distractify.com/news/2016/04/06/powerlifter-girl-bff
. . .A young Houston girl with terminal brain cancer was given a Make-a-Wish grant. Instead of using it for herself, she asked them to make a well in Sierra Leon so children there could have clean drinking water. Her act touched singer Matthew West and inspired a song on his new album. http://www.breathecast.com/articles/matthew-west-young-girl-brain-cancers-story-inspired-song-new-21755/
I’d love to add more to this list, with stories of courageous people who refuse to be dimmed by the world. In fact, as my contribution to fighting back the darkness, I’ve decided to write a monthly “Stand in the Light” post. But I’ll need your help. If you know someone who is a light to others, I’d like to write about that person. Or, send Rosefitz.email@example.com a link to your favorite light-filled story, I will share it with my, er…, 49 or so readers. Perhaps we can inspire people to start their own fires…
We’re all in this together, people. Let’s light up the world.
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – Habakkuk 3:16-18