A light in the darkness
by Jon K. Petts
Captivated by its austere and rugged beauty, I once spent an idyllic summer in the south of Crete, living on a remote hill-top overlooking the azure blue sea. ‘Home’ was a very small and much-travelled bright orange nylon tent, and I had a candle for company to read and write by – so I wanted for nothing!
One morning I had gone to the beach as usual for a swim. It was always deserted here but not on this particular morning. A cheerfully painted wooden fishing boat had been hauled part-way up onto the sand, and a strong driftwood fire blazed and crackled fiercely in the cool morning air. The delicious aroma of fish stew issued from a soot-blackened pot in the centre of it all.
To my delight, the four kindly fishermen invited me to share this meal with them, and we chatted amicably about simple, wholesome things. Then one of them asked, ‘Do you perhaps know anything about the light on top of this hill?’
Puzzled, I replied that I had seen no light, and I lived alone on the hill. ‘But there is a light!’ the fisherman insisted; ‘A steady, orange light! We have used it for two months now, because it is reliable and leads straight into this cove, which is safe and sheltered. Look, it guides us safely through those rocks out there’, he said, pointing out to sea.
The ‘eureka’ moment came when I realised that the orange light was, in fact, caused by my little candle – shining through the thin nylon fabric of the tent and casting an orange glow off the hill-top and out to sea.
With no other source of light for many miles around, that one candle served as a beacon to these fishermen. I explained the mystery and laughed, and the men grinned good-naturedly. But there was no mistaking their earnestness when they said, ‘Please, let your light shine. We will give you fish in return!’
The light of Christ
I never saw those fishermen again, but, although I said it wasn’t necessary, they regularly left a basket of fish on the beach for me – out of appreciation for one seemingly insignificant little candle. That’s all it took to cut through the darkness where it was deepest, and guide my friends to a safe harbour.
Once, we too were in darkness, but now we are ‘light in the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:8-9). The apostle Paul declared that Christian lives are like a light, shining through the darkness of this world’s depravity (Philippians 2:15). The Lord Jesus himself told his disciples, ‘You are the light of the world’ – and instructs us to ‘Let [our] light shine before men’ (Matthew 5:14-16).
Indeed, it would be selfish not to share with others the light in our hearts – our love, hope and joy in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 and 1 Peter 3:15-16). After all, Christians are not only saved but saving!
Guided to Christ
Therefore, as a child of God, don’t be afraid to let your light shine, because it is, in fact, the light of Christ shining through that ‘tent’ which is you! (2 Corinthians 5:1). And there’s nothing small about the light of Christ for his light is truth not error. His light is knowledge, not ignorance, and the darkness cannot, and will not, overcome it (John 1:5).
So don’t be shy – shine! Whether you know it or not your light counts, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem to you. Someone, somewhere, out on life’s ocean may be guided to Christ because of it.
Consider these words – ‘Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). Our good works can never save us, for salvation is by faith alone. But they might just be the means of saving someone else – by pointing them to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10).