This little light of mine…

 7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before. 8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.

 9 If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness.

1 John 2: 7-9

This past weekend we had an Acteens sleepover at church.  The lessons all revolved around being creative and listening to the voice of God.  I love the concept of art therapy and using art to tap into something deeper within ourselves.  So I was ecstatic to find out the girls would be painting the image of their personal walk with God.

We hung the pictures up around the room, and each girl had the opportunity to discuss what their image meant. 

“Let’s see, this is the good part of my life, and this is the black bubble of all my doubts about God.  I know I’m not supposed to doubt… but I do.”

“This is where God is, and I’m on the other side.  And these are the hands that are trying to pull me down into the darkness.  Because I don’t feel very close to Him, and I… I just don’t know.”

“Light colors are on top, and then there are dark colors on bottom, and everything just kind of mixes together sometimes.  The light colors are when I feel close, and the dark are when I feel alone or confused.”

Each girl shared her visual understanding of her personal relationship with God.  Each time we heard symbolism about light and darkness.  Each girl seemed to speak about the darkness of doubt, loneliness, fear, and anger.

I thought it was interesting how the darkness that creeped into every picture on the wall was seen as something “bad”.  Something to be afraid of.  Even worse, something to be ashamed of. 

Maybe that line of darkness woven throughout each picture wasn’t so much a wall dividing us from God as much as it was the thread that bound us together.   I wonder what would happen if we quit burying our questions and our doubts.  What would happen if we allowed ourselves to ask the scary questions, to tell someone we felt lost, like we didn’t have a purpose, to get mad at God?

Would our fears be realized?  Would we be ostracized and told we were “stupid” or “had no faith”? 

Or would something else happen?  Could someone say he understood?  Could someone come in and help point out the light that does exist, no matter how dim? 

I hope those girls learned that they aren’t as alone as they might feel sometimes.  I hope I learn that, too.

One thought on “This little light of mine…

  1. The Rabbi Samurai says:

    Understanding what you mean. I know I struggle with my own doubt, wanting to feel close to God and not knowing what to do to make this happen. I have been holding onto the string that i was given last sunday to remind me that God is in control. Though I may feel far away, he may just be in the process of reworking my life into something different… and even if he was to tell me what he was doing…i would still be scared. I think this is why “fear not” or “have no fear” shows up in the Bible more than any other commandment.

    We all have doubts, and its funny to act as if we dont. In the end we are all doubters…. if we didnt doubt we would be compete and utter Believers with Great Faith. We are not… we believe somethings… we are skeptical of others. Simply look at what you say is important and then what you DO and it will be abundantly clear. What we do is based upon what we believe and though sometimes we know what we ought to believe, we have doubts. I think that Faith is not the lack of doubts, or fear, it is the persistence in belief to walk thru trusting that God will pull us through.

    I like what someone once pointed out in a book (cant remember the book) …he said that Jesus had three choices as he was standing in the garden of Gethsemane, waiting for the men with swords and torches to come arrest him, and kill him. Note that he is there praying that God would provide a different solution…affraid…doubtfull….maybe….certainly affraid. Never the less he has two obvious choices. 1. Fight. Peter tried this and sliced an ear off. jesus wasnt hearing any of that and healed the guy. 2. RUN… all the disciples did this in the end. 3. Die. I think we forget that God lives in the paradox. Jesus saw a third option where we usually see only 2. The paradox is how can you live…while you die. Quite litterally Jesus was put to death, and yet he knew that he could not be killed…permanently anyway. THis reminds me of super heros. I think we love them because they dont have to face up to walking through the flames as such. They dont have to trust that someone on the other side of death will bring them back to life. They trust in their super strength and ability. I think this is a good reminder for me not to fear death. A true Hero faces his own death with courage.

    In the end Doubts are just part of who we are. I doubt that God can use someone as wayward and wondering as I am. I doubt that God can salvage the mistakes and the hurts that I have felt through my life. I doubt that I can be the very best husband to my wife. I doubt. Yet to if I refocus for just a moment I see people in the Bible with just as many doubts, and fears, and a great deal more brokenness than my own. I also see a loving God who did NOT forgotten them in the end.

    I believe that a constant focus on who I am not will never bring me to a state of peace, or an understanding that God can be trusted. I think this is where Christianity get screwed up a bit. Seems as though each doubt is my little garden of Gethsemane where I feel the oncoming torches and swords, the sound of my coming death. Each doubt a garden where I must stand up to my doubts with courage…unafraid to die … waiting in faith that God will rescue and save or raise me up from my grave.

    Galatians 2:20
    I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

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