Can you believe this winter? After snow shoveling what seemed like daily the previous two winters, I haven't had to shovel one time. I sort of miss it. Well, maybe not. Any way, as I was thinking about that, I realized that spring is not too far away. In fact, as I write this, it's only 43 days until spring is here.
Many studies have shown that people are more depressed or can become depressed during winter. The days are short, heck, there are many winter days when I get home from work, put my pj's on immediately and then realize it's not even 5:00 yet, the nights seem darker and it seems like we will never see the sun again, not to mention the cold. However, when we get a whiff of spring, maybe through one of those flukish 60 degree days in February, or for whatever reason, we start to come out of our winter doldrums. The days get longer, the temps go up and everything starts to blossom. Can't you smell it? Can't you feel it? SPRING!!! We look forward to spring for so many reasons. Warmer temperatures, summer vacation, the end of the school year gets closer, we spend more time outside, the boats are in the water (can't wait!!!) and as I said before, the days are longer, we have more light.
As I was writing that last paragraph, I started thinking to myself, that sounds a lot like my journey in life and even more so in faith. Various times of darkness and cold, sometimes feeling like that bad situation would never end, ending up in a dark place, a dark corner, feeling alone. Dark, cold, gray and all alone. Just like winter, that can easily put us in a depressing state of mind. Now that I've made us all feel a little lousier, what if I told you that you could have spring 365 days a year. That there was so much light, you wouldn't know what to do with it. That you never had to feel alone again. That those dark, cold and gray times could be over shadowed with the abundant colors of spring. If that was true, I believe most of you would sign up for that, right? Well guess what, it is true. That light is Jesus and He is the light of the world.
What do we often have a tendency to do when things aren't going our way? When life just isn't working out the way we thought. When we're just not feeling very good about much of anything. Many times we withdraw. We go farther into darkness by feeling sorry for ourselves. We try to dig out of the hole by ourselves, by pushing away those offering to help and amazingly, we push away Jesus. We put the brightest light the world has ever and will ever see under a basket, or in a corner or just shut it off completely. The one source of light that could take away all the darkness, we ignore. When we need Him the most, we don't look to Him, we look away.
Folks, these are the times when we shouldn't run to Jesus, we should sprint to Him (or walk as fast as you can if you have a bum ankle like mine). He is our eternal season of spring, our eternal source of light. Remember Monopoly's get out of jail card free. Jesus is our get out of a bad mood card for free, but not just once, FOREVER. So why in the heck would we shut out the one source that can take away all our pain, that can ease our suffering, that can bring peace to our lives, that truly can make bright what seemed like eternal darkness? Don't push Him away, don't shove Him in a dark corner, or shut Him off completely. Let Him in, let that light shine on you, let it erase the darkness, warm your heart and spirit and in turn, it will allow us to do exactly what the next part of the passage says. It 's Matt.5:16 and it reads like this; "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
I have said and wrote many times how reading a bible passage a second or third time can reveal something you've never seen before. Well guess what, it just happened as I was writing this. I went into this posting with the sole focus being on how Jesus can make us feel better, bring us out of our dark places and be our light forever. And all of that is most definitely true. Jesus will bring us out of the darkness, He will be our light, but it's not our light to keep. It's not our light to make us feel good and then go back and live the life we were living before. Doing the things that brought us into that darkness.
No, it's taking that gift, that light and sharing what Jesus gave to us with others. With others who are in the dark. Who are feeling alone. Who think that their despair might never end. Who end up in that dark, cold, gray corner and feel like maybe this is how their life is supposed to be. We have to shine our light on them. We have to cut through their darkness and let them see the wonderful light that was shared with us. Yes, in the end, it has nothing to do with our happiness, though it sure does feel great when His light brings us out of our darkness. No, it's about doing the same for others. It's about shining our light on them, sharing our gifts, holding that hand, writing that letter, making that apology, giving that hug, making that call, lending that ear, judging less, loving more, being like Jesus. When we give it all to Jesus, great things happen. Not only in relief of our burdens, but even more importantly, in allowing us to relieve the burden of others by doing God's work. Go and be that light for all to see.