I was at a friend’s house recently (actually in his yard), admiring the yard lights he had dotting his driveway and sidewalk. When I found out they were solar powered I became more interested. After he told me how inexpensive they were, I went into full purchase mode. A few days later there was a trip to the store and I arrived home with a dozen solar powered yard lights.
Installation is as simple as turning them on and sticking them in the ground. I wasn’t sure if they had to have direct exposure to the sun or could absorb the rays indirectly. I found out quickly that it was the former. It seemed the lights worked according to a rather simple principle: If you want them to give lots of light at night, they have to receive lots of light during the day. Little or no light during the day meant they would be taking the night off.
We’re like that, don’t you think? We’re to be light to the world (Matthew 5:14), but like my yard lights, it’s difficult to put out any light if we’re not receiving any. Our problems tend to fall along the same lines as my yard lights. Sometimes we’re simply in a place where there is too little light. I initially placed some lights between some large shrubs that blocked out the sunlight except for a small portion of the day. It wasn’t enough. Similarly, we can develop lifestyles that don’t receive enough direct light. We don’t have to be in bad/dark places, we’re just not in the light long enough. Sometimes it’s because we’re just too busy, our lives are crammed full of one activity after another and the light simply gets crowded out (Matthew 13:22). My shrubs aren’t morally evil, but they were definitely preventing light from getting to the yard lights. In the same way, whether it’s our overall lifestyle or just certain elements of it, we need to be aware of the light-blockers in our lives.
A different problem is that sometimes we’re in the right place, but other conditions affect the light—perhaps it’s overcast or raining. The darkness of discouragement, hardship, or suffering can take their toll on us. The answer in such cases isn’t to move, it’s to wait for the light. It makes no sense for me to go out and rearrange my yard lights because it’s raining. How do I know the new place I put them will receive enough sun? No, at such a time patience is what is needed. The clouds will not stay forever and when the sun begins to shine again, the lights will be where they need to be. In the same way, when it is time to be patient, nothing else will do. Yet in our instant gratification culture, patience can be one of the most difficult things to practice.
How’s the light in your life? I hope it’s bright, warm, and constant because light is closely related to life. If it’s not, take a look, decide what needs to be done and shine for Him.