Updated: Nov 17, 2020
I’m sure I don’t need to paint any pictures for you about what you see when you go out these days. The stress, the anxiety, the mistreatment of cashiers and customer service.
You see people both gloomy and paranoid; calm and anxious; sad and angry.
I wonder if we’ve stopped being scared of COVID and are more afraid of what we see in people around us.
The changes in our life have impacted our demeanors, causing us a certain amount of dread when we step out the door, into our workplaces, or out on our errands. Long conversations about increasing numbers, shut-downs and the upcoming flu season just seem to drain us. We see the effects on our own thought life, and through the strong emotional reactions of others.
It creeps into our own attitudes, we become uncertain of what to do. Giving up seems the best answer, crawling into hibernation to avoid it. If we do choose press on, it’s with unease and trepidation.
The heightened emotions are a natural response to struggles, but there is a darkness that creeps in when emotions rule our actions, when behaviours are forceful and utterly lacking in love. It's sad and discouraging to see so many people off kilter.
How do we cope with this darkness, this lack of love?
As I face this challenge going to work these days, I’ve been reminded that the solution to darkness is light. When I can’t find my phone that slipped under the seat of my car at night, I turn on a light to find it. When my kids can’t sleep because it’s too dark, we place a nightlight.
Jesus calls us to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is where the solution is. We find it in the Light.
We carry this beacon that shines to all those around us, the very One who proclaimed “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). The truth of love, hope and rescue in Christ, of whom it was spoken “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matt 4:16).
For us who love and follow Jesus, our task is clear. In the midst of these trying times when you feel like all love is lost, when you prepare for the tasks of your day and when you step foot into your workplace, you carry this light with you, and it’s meant to shine for those around you.
This is the difference in us, we are a people who live with purpose, making intentional choices, to bring forth faith, hope and love, as we have been given. No longer stuck in absorbing negative patterns of what we see and feel around us, we fill ourselves with the Word of truth, equipping us to be not only hearers of the Word, but doers.
Your coworkers need this, the people you serve are waiting to hear it. We are the messengers of a good news that is for all people, and perhaps, now more than ever. When life is easy there doesn’t seem to be a problem with faith, but now, when faith is being tested, the truth of what we believe requires action.
Elisabeth Elliot writes, “This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”
As we step into this day today, we have confidence that we are right where God wants us for this exact moment, wherever that may be, and however difficult we may find it. Our workplaces have always been a place of ministry, and now when people are struggling and hurting, it is our privilege and purpose to be a model and a voice pointing people toward Good News.
My prayer for us is that we hold on tightly to the purpose we have as believers in Christ, to be a people who bring light into darkness, actions of love into desperation, and words of hope to the downtrodden.
And, when you struggle to find the courage, remember, “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28).
How can you be a light today?