Let It Shine!: Holes in the Darkness

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” 

The words of this children’s gospel song, written in 1920 by Avis Burgeson Christiansen, are simple and their message far reaching. What child hasn’t sung it? What adult doesn’t remember it?

But the more important question: do we hold true to its mission?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 

Matthew 5:16, KJV


Holes in the Darkness

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. 

Daniel 12:3, NIV

Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_1Due to a chronic lung disease, Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his childhood bedridden. One evening, he watched as a lamplighter lit the gas lamps on the street outside his bedroom window. When his nurse came into his room and found him with his face pressed up against the glass, she asked, “What intrigues you so?”  He replied, “I’m watching a man punch holes in the darkness.”

God punched a hole in the darkness at creation when He said, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3).

Jesus punched a hole in the darkness when He came to earth and said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

Christ-followers punch holes in the darkness when we let our lights shine. “You are the light of the world … in the same way let your light shine” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

Years ago, I received a phone call from a distraught friend. Her three-year-old daughter was afraid of the dark. All of their attempts to comfort her had failed. “Please pray,” she said. “Every night, Eliana gets out of bed, and we find her asleep in the hall the next morning. I don’t know what to do.”

Since Eliana was taking a nap at the time, I suggested she place her hands on her daughter’s head and pray against the spirit of fear. I Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_2would also pray. The next morning, my friend called to tell me that her daughter had slept through the night.

Later that day, I bought Eliana a package of plastic glow-in-the-dark stars. When I took them to her, we went into the pantry and shut the door so she could see them glow. I told her that when her parents put them on the ceiling above her bed, she could look at them and know that Jesus was watching over her and would keep her safe through the night.

Shine,_Day_3,_Photo_3Again, she slept all night.

Days later, I received this note from her mother: “Every night Eliana wants to turn out the nightlight so that she can see the stars. She says, ‘I can still see them, Mommy!’ It’s been a good reminder for us that sometimes we can see God shining brightly in our circumstances and at other times we have to look for Him a little harder, but He is always there.”

In order for phosphorus stars to glow in the dark, they need daily exposure to the light. Likewise, for our lights to shine, we need to position ourselves regularly before the Light Giver and then be willing to step into the darkness of another. It is there that we will witness God punch holes in the darkness of a lost and dying world.

Let it shine!