Night Lights That Know When to Shine
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I guess we got in the habit when our kids were little. Night lights, I mean. We'd put one in their room. I heard it keeps the monsters in the closet. I hope that's true. And we always had one on in the bathroom so you wouldn't fall in if you had to go there in the middle of the night. Actually, we still have a night light in the bathroom. But it's the new and improved kind. It only goes on when the lights go out. But, of course, that's when you need it, right, when it's dark.
It's nice to have a light that turns on when it gets dark - especially if that light is a person. Because when you're going through a dark time, you really need someone who brings some light into your life; sort of a human night light. Which I hope you are; which someone you know probably needs right now.
It's the kind of friend described in our word for today from the Word of God in Proverbs 17:17. God says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." In other words, a real friend, a real brother is one who's walking in when everyone else is walking out! And that takes the kind of love Jesus has, the kind of love Jesus can give you to give someone else. It's called unconditional love - the kind that has absolutely nothing to do with how the other person in acting, how the other person is treating you, or what the other person can do for you.
And I'm guessing there's someone you know who really needs you to be their night light right now. But you might be holding back. Maybe they've experienced a big hurt, and frankly, you don't know what to say. So, you're avoiding them. They just need your presence, not your words; they need your hug, not your talk; they need your help with some of the everyday stuff that's become too much for them in their dark time.
Or maybe the person who needs you isn't acting very loveable right now. They're angry, they're negative, they're lashing out, they're withdrawn, they're sending off "leave me alone" signals that don't exactly make people feel like trying to reach out to them. But often when people are the least loveable, they need our love the most. It may, in fact, be a child of yours, or another family member, who is acting pretty ugly right now. You can almost bet that it's because they've been wounded somehow, and they're bleeding all over the people close to them. Somebody has to disregard all those negative vibes and reach out to them with some love and some tenderness. I'm suspecting that God's "someone" who is supposed to love them may be you.
It's possible there's a fellow-believer who has made some serious mistakes, and they've been pretty much written off by other Christians. Maybe God is calling on you to extend the hand of Jesus to them in spite of what they've done. There are lots of reasons not to be that friend who, according to the Bible, "loves at all times," not to be that brother or sister who is "born for adversity." But here is the real bottom line. It is the nature of Jesus to pursue the most unlovable, the most hurting, and often even the most undeserving. And it's supposed to be the nature of those of us who carry His Name.
It's time for that phone call, that email, that letter, a listening ear, a helping hand, that visit. It's time for someone to bring the healing love of Jesus into their darkness. Because when it's dark, when the lights have gone out, you need a night light. It's time for you to shine.