As I opened my daily prayer book to the 17th, I saw in the notes that in 2021 for August, the Taliban had taken back control of Afghanistan. I penned underneath that date 2022, Russia invading Ukraine.
If you are like me, the images of war in these two nations and people grabbing what they can carry while they hoist a child on the hip to flee their country brings me to my knees.
A note on our table lists the names of a couple of young widowers, some older widows and some women our own age who are now without their husbands and dads.
We learned yesterday of a driver who crossed lanes and killed a van full of college kids and our hearts ache for a dear family we know who had to relive their own nightmare story of their college daughter and her friends who died in a similar way.
And then there is just the every day stuff of our loved ones and their trials and struggles and our own aches and pains in our bodies as we gain another year on the planet.
It piles up.
We throw up prayers and sometimes just tears as we ask God to intervene throughout the day and around the world and we are conflicted as we go about our daily routines and plan fun and recreation around busy schedules.
Guilt, fear, anger…they are vicious as they cycle around and we wonder how we live in the tension of it all.
I have heard people make references to feeling bad they had a vacation or shouldn’t even be talking about some difficult thing they are walking through in light of what is going on and so I prayed today…what could I say into this?
And then as I was opening up the store this morning, it came to me.
In this shop where I work once a week, we have five significant lights hanging from the ceiling but then a variety of small lamps throughout that provide the needed light for shoppers to see the merchandise.
Each morning that I work, I make my way around the store and click on the eclectic mix of lamps tucked into shelves and clipped to display racks.
There are times when later in the day I will be moving about the store and I sense that an area is darker than usual. Upon further inspection I will notice that sure enough – either a light bulb has burned out or I totally missed that one small lamp as I made my rounds.
I can literally stand at the counter and survey the store from front to back and tell if a light has been forgotten.
So here’s my thought today.
This world needs your light.
We are not overcome by the darkness, but our lamps can fade as we grow weary.
Whatever it takes each day, fan the flame of the light that God has brought you into.
You are lighting up the area and people around you in the midst of their hard seasons.
Remind yourself of God’s promises
Cry out to Him on behalf of others and for your own needs.
When you feel yourself growing numb, lean hard into God and ask Him to keep you strong and tender.
When you feel helpless for what is happening over there, look hard for what you can do HERE and then do it.
Tell God all the things that are wrong and evil and hard and then declare that He is good and He is kind.
I always feel in times when we do not have the words, the Psalms have them for us.
So if you are trying to fan an ember of hope today, that may be a good place to start.
Bless you as you keep your hearts soft towards the people who need our prayers (and that does include our enemies) and as you extend God’s love and grace and mercy to those around you.
We who once walked in darkness have been transferred to the Kingdom of LIGHT…so let that little light shine. (Ephesians 5:8)
You are precious and you are dearly loved