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

Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his childhood bedridden due to a chronic lung disease. One evening, he watched a lamplighter light 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 pane, 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 whenever we let our lights shine. “You are the light of the world … let your light shine” (Matthew 5:14, 16).


Years ago, I received a phone call from a distraught friend. Her three-year-old was afraid of the dark. All of their attempts to comfort their daughter had failed. “Please pray,” she said. “Every morning we find her asleep in the hall. I don’t know what to do.” We agreed to pray against her child’s spirit of fear and the next morning my friend called to say her daughter had slept through the night.


Later that day, I bought a package of glow-in-the-dark plastic stars and took them to their home. When we led her daughter into the pantry and shut the door, the stars lit up the small room. I told her to ask her daddy to put them on the ceiling above her bed, then she could look at them and know that Jesus watches over her and would keep her safely through the night.


Once again, she slept.


Days later, I received a note from her mother. “Every night our daughter 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.”


To glow in the dark, phosphorus stars need continuous exposure to light. Likewise, in order for our lights to shine, we must position ourselves regularly in the presence of the Light Giver. Then, when we step into someone’s darkness, we’ll witness God punch holes in it and fill their soul holes with light.





Eyes to See

“‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’” 
2 Kings 6:16

Recently, I sat across the table from a former high school classmate and listened to him recount his experience in the Vietnam War. His assignment—the Phan Rang Air Base bomb dump, 150 miles northeast of Saigon—a large open area surrounded by dirt piled high to control unexpected explosions.

Hour-after-hour, soldiers clad in uniforms drenched to their legs with sweat would assemble bombs and stack them for use the next day against the Viet Cong. In 1969, during the Tet Offensive, U.S. military planes would fly so many missions his team would work every day from dawn to dusk for weeks.

“At times, I felt lost and abandoned. I tried hard not to feel sorry for myself. I knew people would die from the bombs we made, but I chose not to think about it. I just put my head down, did my job, and tried to survive while counting the days until I could ‘return to the world.’ Our only diversion was to watch helicopters fly over, or our aircraft bomb and strafe the enemy in the mountains surrounding us. We were attacked many times with rockets, mortars, and occasional ground forces. I truly believe God looked out for me.”

As I listened to my classmate’s story, I could only imagine the conflict of emotions that life in the middle of a warzone would bring. After all, my friend’s presence there along with thousands of other troops sheltered me from the horrors of a war that took place halfway around the world. For their service, I am grateful.

In the 2 Kings 6 account of another war, fear struck the heart of Elisha’s servant when he saw an army of horses and chariots surround the city. Elisha assured him that God was greater than the enemy and prayed God would give his servant eyes to see. “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). As the enemy moved toward them, Elisha prayed that God would strike them blind, and he did as Elisha asked.

Do you face seemingly insurmountable difficulties? I’m sure my classmate, afraid at times, found comfort as he watched his comrades rid the mountains of their enemies. Scripture states that in this world we will have trouble, but because of Christ’s death and resurrection our enemy is a defeated foe. No illness, grief, financial crisis, rejection, or calamity has the power to overcome us. God always leads his children to victory.

Look to the hills. Lift up your eyes in faith and allow God to show you his triumphant power.




Biblical Truths I Learned From My Cats: Take A Time Out

It amuses me what God sometimes uses to teach us lessons. Lately, it seems my four cats (and others in my life) have been the source of a few biblical truths.


Take A Time Out

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:4 NIV


Max_hidingOne of my male cats is an eighteen-pound, long haired mountain of fluff. He’s by far the biggest, but he’s also the shyest. Max was attacked by a wolf/dog hybrid as a kitten, and while he’s affectionate with us, he is somewhat skittish when it comes to loud noises and strangers. When the doorbell rings, he will fly up the stairs to hide. His favorite place is under my bed, a place he feels secure. After a while, he might venture out to see who is here, but only after he has taken some time in his little refuge to calm down, assess the situation, and determine it’s safe to do so.

Life is often a series of sudden twist and turns. Something as simple as a phone call (or an unexpected visitor ringing the doorbell) can change everything. The abrupt whirlwind that often follows can be very disconcerting, but we don’t have to let the whims of the world blow us this way and that. We may not be able to run and hide under a bed when the doorbell rings, but we can turn to our God, and like a mother bird protects her offspring from a sudden storm by sheltering them under her wings, we can know that He will always provide a place of refuge for us.

Psalm 91:4 promises that His faithfulness will be both a shield and a rampart. A shield is designed to protect a warrior in battle. A rampart is a defensive wall, usually around a stronghold, like a castle or fort. When life’s storms rage around you and the world’s enemies relentlessly attack, your God has your back. Not only does He promise to protect you in one-on-one combat, he offers a sanctuary from the battle, a wall behind which you can retreat to regroup, rest, and evaluate your next move.

Next time your paradigm is unexpectedly shifted, take Him up on that promise. Enter into His refuge. Let His faithfulness provide the shelter you need. He’s waiting, with wings wide open.