Thursday, July 01, 1999

This Little Light O' Mine...

Then the Lord said "let there be light" Genesis 1:3

The darkness came suddenly. The laughter that moments before filled the room faded into quiet murmuring. What happened? In an instant, the party-like atmosphere of the short-term missionaries of the JAF Camp changed to expressions of concern. Who needed help? Which families would be most effected by this loss of electricity? Teams were quickly organized to fan out across the Camp Allen compound to inquire and assist the families in need.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

The dark is disabling. Movement is tenuous, and furniture becomes a challenging obstacle course. But for those who live in a world limited by disability, necessity turns quickly into opportunity. Within our gathered group, amidst voices of prayerful concern querying who came equipped with flashlights – a light appeared.

The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death upon them, a light dawned. Matthew 4:16

Surprised, we all let out a gleeful chuckle, for the darkness was broken by a headlight on the mobile wheelchair of Amy Valigura, leader of the singles ministry, restricted to moving through the world on our current source of light by arthritis.

On that last evening of the camp, as the short-term missionaries gathered to share stories of meaning and inspiration, a greater insight was given. We all had experiences and moments to treasure for a lifetime. But we are not called to the “short-term”.

As believers, we have signed up for the long haul, for the race set before us. Each of us faces fears of incompetence, inadequacy and ability for the task. But during our week at Camp Allen, we witnessed individuals facing far greater limitations than we could ever imagine.

As we looked outside into the darkness, the points of light shining going door to door was striking. Here in the dark we saw a vivid representation of our real long-term responsibility.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house

Matthew 5:14-16

In the hour when the power of man failed, we saw the first light come from a most unlikely source. We laid aside our plans for the evening, and prayed for those in need. We approached the throne boldly and lifted our petitions to the Father, knowing darkness and light are the same to Him (Psalm 139:12). In a world filled with darkness, as we live our lives in servitude we forge a path, carrying a light - looking out for the interests of others in need.

Arise and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:1

This little light o’ mine – I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.