3 Ways to Shine Your Light in a Dark World

ways to light a dark world laurie wallinAs I watched the news yesterday, headline after headline punched me in the gut, bringing me to tears. I felt like an idiot crying in the middle of the gym on an elliptical machine. But what else could I do, reading these words?

  • Biker gang shootout kills 9 in Texas
  • 8 bodies recovered from U.S. copter crash site
  • Oil tankers: Danger on the rails
  • In Nepal, uncertainty, fear settle like dust following aftershock

The world can feel so overwhelmingly broken, life can be so chaotic and uncertain. It can leave us feeling like curling up into a corner, hoping it will just end soon.

But we aren’t helpless.

We’ve got a few powerful flashlights at our disposal.

Know the end of the story.

Yes, there is an enemy. It has many names—ISIS, sex trafficking, the opposing political party, homelessness, poverty, corruption, or addiction—it is all the same enemy. The one who is content to keep us isolated from others, busy in our own lives, ashamed, fearful, paralyzed. It’s an enemy whose dismal and fitting end will come.

And God Himself will be among [us], and He will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” — Revelation 21:4-5

The gut-wrenching brokenness of this world has an end point. Healing will come. Darkness cannot ultimately overcome the Light. God wins. We will be with Him where He is, and we will whoop it up together something fierce when we get there.

End of story.

Pray into the darkness.

Not just pray a shopping list of requests, or prayers we’ve said since we were five. But prayer from the groaning place in our soul where the tears and grief and rage at the injustice of the world lives. We’ve got to raise our voices. Stand up. Pray the promises of scripture and the hope of God over desperately hopeless situations. When we see pictures in the news and ache for the child-casualties of war and poverty, we can proclaim the power of God over a dark, torn world.

At the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth — Philippians 2:10

I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. — Jesus, in Matthew 18:18

What are we permitting on earth by our bored, lifeless prayers? What are we leaving loose around this life that needs a little heaven fire poured out in its direction? We can do more than grieve, friends. We can break chains, bring circumstances to their knees before the God of heaven, and see Light shatter the darkness.

Love the person in front of you.

Not just tolerate or enjoy or like them, but love them. As in, extend mercy, time, energy, encouragement, help, and companionship. Love them beyond what’s easy or convenient. Love them like they matter, because they do. Not just because they’re human beings, but because they carry in themselves a facet of the image of God and without them the world aches for that missing piece of who God is.

When we don’t belong to each other, we participate not only in the devastation of the world, but a desecration of the image of God. — Ann Voskamp

We are, whether we like it or not, part of one another.  So send a card (in the actual mail), call that friend, linger with a neighbor at the mailboxes, look that homeless guy in the eye and smile at him. Help Ann Voskamp raise money to keep children out of ISIS’s clutches. Hold your child a little longer tonight. Kiss your husband or roommate or mom and let them know they mean the world to you.

We can make a difference in a dark world by the very act of being us instead of you and me.we are better together

Let’s push back today, shall we? If you’ve ever seen the power of a small nightlight in a dark hallway, imagine what God can do with us—together—shining His light into a dark world.


{Joining with a community of encouragers at Holley Gerth’s place today.}

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  1. says

    Amen, I agree with everything you said regarding prayer. Romans 8:26-28, when we don’t know what to pray Holy Spirit will take our groans and use them. God has layed so much on me regarding prayer and I love spending time with him in prayer, at first I hated praying if I have to be honest but after realizing the truths behind prayer i got it. It is a way that we can let our light shine and it is the best ting we can do when we can’t always reach people and don’t know how else to help them. “When we stop praying, God stop working!” Thanks for sharing, cant wait to read more!

    • says

      Thanks for being vulnerable and honest about how you felt at first about prayer. It can feel like a burden or a laundry list or even sometimes can make us wonder if anybody’s listening at all. I’ve definitely been there with it too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I look forward to hearing more of them.

  2. Nicco Cobb says

    People ask me often, ‘how is it you understand all this?’ I can only tell them that its because i stand under Jesus, the understanding is His gift for staying there. You dont get the understanding if you’re not standing under the one who runs the show. Help others to stand where you live and light up your town, state, country and world! All it takes is encouragement from us to change lives where we live. Thank you, Laurie, for reminding us of the power we have in us to do the work He sent us to do!!

    • says

      “All it takes is encouragement from us to change lives where we live.” That is so true. And it makes it a little less overwhelming to be an agent of change and light. Thanks for living what you’re saying here. It’s such a gift!

  3. Gayl Wright says

    Laurie, this is great! Sometimes I don’t think we realize how powerful prayer is. We may not see results right away, but this praying into the darkness is something we need to do. We may feel like our small prayer doesn’t matter, but when joined with many others it can’t help but shine that light of Christ. Thank you for reminding us that we are “Us instead of You and Me.”

  4. Rachel says

    This is so good! Thank you, Laurie! I was just doing this today… praying into the darkness and loving those right in front of me. I feel as you do as I watch the news and think, “What can I really do that is of any worth?” And then I pray because the earnest prayer reaches into places we can’t go and accomplishes things we can’t imagine. Thank you for sharing this today! (Your neighbor at Holley’s place)