The Light of Hope
In his book, My Mother Played the Piano, John Smith tells of a time in his youth when he and a friend found themselves in quite the predicament. The boys had chased a turtle into a large drainage pipe. In their excitement, the boys had followed this turtle further into the drainage pipe than they had thought. They tried to turn around and go back the way they came, only to find that they could not fight against the current flowing through the pipe. They were left with only one choice, swim through the length of the pipe to the other side. Though the pipe was large, it was still close quarters for the boys. They had banged up their knees and scraped their hands as they pulled themselves along the rough concrete culvert.
John was in the lead, and his friend had grabbed John's ankle and refused to let it go. Quickly, John found himself as the encourager. The friend, who followed behind, was almost in a panic, crying the whole length of the pipe. John kept on encouraging his friend, saying things like, "come on, keep moving, not far now, we are almost there." Finally, the boys made it out of the pipe and spilled into the creek on the other side. In telling this story, John says that he found himself in that role of encourager for only one reason. It was not because he was braver than his friend, or stronger, or of better character. John said he was the encourager because, being in the lead, he could see the light at the other end. Following behind, his friend did not have that advantage. He could not see the light. The light gave John hope, and he passed that hope on to his friend.
We can take many lessons from this story, and John does that in his book. However, there is one lesson that we cannot ignore, and that lesson is how the light at the end of the dark tunnel translated into HOPE for the one who could see that light. The world can be a dark place, and hardships here abound. For the child of God, though, hopefully, we can see what people without God cannot. As the people of God, we can see the light! I know that sounds like a worn-out cliche, but the lesson is still there and just as meaningful. In Christ, in the family of God, there is hope because of the light that is God and Christ and Heaven. When we focus on the darkness, and that is all we can see, we lose hope. People who do not have a relationship with God can only hope in the dark. That is not where hope is found.
As the people of God, we see the light of God, and in that light, we find the strength to keep going. In our relationship with God, we can see that there is something more than just the cramped darkness around us; there is open space, freedom, and light at the end of the long culvert pipe we are struggling to get through.
Because we can see what others cannot, we now have the responsibility of being the encourager. We have the responsibility of bringing others who are blind into the light of God. People in the world around us need to see that light. We can lead them to a place where the light can be seen. Hopefully, when they see the light from God, they will be drawn to Him. I cannot imagine how people go through this world without being able to see that light. We have something special, and God wants us to share that knowledge we have about the light with others. Let those who cannot see the light hang on the ankles of those of us who can see the light. Let us who can see the light be encouragers to others who are in the dark.
This life is sometimes a struggle. Sometimes it is not, things go well for us, and we can praise God for those times. But, in this life, we have just enough struggle to know and appreciate that there is something better. God wants us to realize the "better," and it is one of the reasons we struggle here in this life.
Satan is the master of darkness, and with his limited power, he will make sure that there is darkness in our lives. God is light, and in Him, there is no darkness at all (1John 1:5). God is the opposite of darkness, and He is leading us to a place where there is no darkness. Satan wants to take us with him to a place of outer darkness. The world needs light, and we, the people of God, are to let the light of God shine out from us. Be that light of hope for someone who is struggling in the darkness.
Paoli Church of Christ
Paoli Church of Christ | 219 Stucker Street, Paoli, IN, United States
And now they are gone. Last evening, I watched as several of my students graduated and moved on to the next phase of their lives. These kids become “your kids” and, yes, you miss them when they are gone.
Relationships are important and you see that here at Paoli. Yes, we love spending time together outside of Sunday and Wednesday, but time spent worshiping together is a unified time where we all focus on worshiping God and his son, Jesus Christ.
For the new reader of SonShine, we meet on Sunday mornings @ 9:00 a.m. for Bible class where kids learn about various topics, and the adults are studying in Daniel. Lessons pertinent to today's living are coming from the Sunday morning sermon. Sunday nights bring us lessons from II Tim., and Wednesday nights we are studying Psalm 119. These are studies that are very interesting and applicable to today's society. Don’t forget to invite someone to services this week; the Sunday morning stream is a great way to share the gospel.
A “Royal Adventure” VBS gets underway in July as kids prepare to return to the classroom. Workers are needed for this adventure, so see Lee and find your spot. Bible Camp begins next month. Remember, Paoli kids may attend this year without charge. If you haven’t registered, you had better hurry up. Don’t forget to check your bulletin for other ways to serve.
Until next week, REMEMBER -
KEEP PRAYING, KEEP WORKING, AND KEEP LOOKING UPWARD. It will all be worth it one day.
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Love Will Keep Us Together
66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Four little words in these verses that are easily overlooked. They can mean different things for mankind. Those words are “and he loved her.” It seems today, those words are hollow and need to be followed with “at least until something better comes along.”
The word love is used for many things. People love their pets, their pizza, their flowers, their boats, their shoes, their clothes, or their favorite ink pen. Hopefully, they also love their family. There are so many degrees of love that some have lessened the quality of love expected for each other by God.
When it says Isaac loved her, it was a committed love. Isaac has witnessed such love from his parents. That love was also shown from his parents toward God. When it comes time to find the person to live the rest of your life with, you’ll do well to find someone who is committed to God.
I know it might be early to think of such things in your life, but it is never too early to love and grow in Christ. While you are looking for that special someone, you also need to be preparing yourself to be that special someone. A commitment to God strengthens all other commitments.
A love for God makes one strive to be the best person possible. Putting God in all of our relationships, makes them better. It motivates and inspires us to overcome difficulties that may come, instead of giving up and moving on. Love will keep people together, especially when God is there also.
Gary's Teen Talk
Let the Son Shine In