This Little Light (Part 2)
Good morning again from Managua, Nicaragua!
Last week, I wrote about the Light and the hope that it brought the world 2,000 years ago. I also mentioned that I had discussed the same topic with the teenagers at the Puente de Amistad orphanage during our weekly devotional. This week, I again discussed this topic with my friends at Puente de Amistad and so I wanted to share our discussion with you.
As you may remember, last week we talked about the light discussed in the book of John chapter 1 in the Bible. We talked about how this Light brought hope to a darkened world and how it was, and is, a person, Jesus Christ. As we started this week’s devotional at El Canyon we again read from John 1, but read verses 1 through 13 this time. This passage talks about how Jesus is one with God the Father and how he brought light that could overcome the darkness. As verse 4 says, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4 NIV 1984). Later in the passage it talks about how Jesus came to the world so that our relationship with God could be restored. John 1:12 says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (NIV 1984). After reading these verses, I asked one of the teachers, Melba, to turn out all of the lights. El Canyon is not a heavily populated area so when the lights are out, it is really dark. I asked everyone if it was dark and, of course, everyone said yes. I then asked if there was darkness and received the same answer. I am pretty sure at this point everyone was wondering what the crazy North American was doing, which is certainly a fair question. Now having established that is was in fact dark and there was darkness, I turned on a small flashlight I had brought for illustration purposes and asked everyone what this was. Since it was pitch black, that answer was pretty easy as well; a “lampara”, which is the Spanish word for lamp or light. Next, I asked them how many lights there were. There was a small debate, but we came up with the correct answer, one. After establishing that there was one light, I asked how many lights were discussed in John 1 and they again said “one”. The flashlight I had is a small MAGLITE, which can be converted from a flashlight to candle by removing the front piece. I completed this action and then asked if the light had become greater. The answer again was yes.
Why does this matter? As I explained to the group with whom I was talking, there was only one light in John 1, but this light was and is strong enough to overcome all of the darkness. When I was holding the flashlight in flashlight mode, it was providing enough light for me, but everyone else was still in the dark. When I removed the top, suddenly this small light turned into a powerful candle that lit up the entire area. This is true of the light talked about in John 1 as well. Jesus was and is a single light, but that single Light is strong enough to bring hope to a hopeless and darkened world. This changes everything. Through Christ, we can renew and restore our relationship with God and have hope for eternity. This, however, is not an eternity that starts when we die, but an eternity that starts today. I believe this picture of hope can and should change the way we live. If we believe there is hope today, we can live joyfully and unafraid of the future. I am certainly not discounting the fact that we will have challenges and hardships in this life. The truth is the Bible guarantees that we will, but as Jesus says in that passage, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b NIV 1984). Instead of being overcome by our circumstances or the world around us, we can advance through the hope that comes from Christ. In my experience, a clear picture of this hope, allows us to live free of fear and excited about all that God has planned for our lives. I have not only experienced this in my own life, but have seen it in the lives of people I have met in Nicaragua, a place where hopelessness abounds.
As we move closer to Christmas, ask yourself if you have a full picture of the hope that is found in Christ, or if you are selling it short. Maybe the little light is stronger than you think. More about the Light next week.
– James Belt