Have you ever owned something that glowed in the dark? Growing up, I found the otherworldly luminescence mesmerizing, so I took full advantage of opportunities to add to my collection. I still remember the simple pleasure of my mini super ball, purchased from a converted gumball machine. Carried around in my pants pocket all day, it was merely a ball that could clear small buildings in a single bounce. However, if it spent part of the day in the sun, I could enjoy an evening of outdoor ball play.
Of course the fun was short lived. By the time I climbed into bed I could barely distinguish the fading orb from the shadowy pile of toys on my dresser. I eventually learned I could restore the ball’s brightness with a few seconds held close to a lamp, but its luster would begin to diminish almost immediately.
Reflecting on my own faith journey, I can relate to that super ball. When I returned from a spiritual retreat or other significant time with God, I felt like I was almost glowing–not physically like Moses when he returned from many days with God on Mount Sinai, but from within. Unfortunately, after a few hurried days of work with limited prayer time, the feeling quickly faded. I also found that quick charges–like an inspiring worship service, insight during prayer or breathtaking scenery–created temporary illumination much like holding the ball to a lamp.
These toys remind me of two important faith lessons:
- If I want to follow Jesus and bring his light into the world, I need to regularly connect with my eternal light source. The strength of my relationship with Jesus is evident, not just in what I do and say, but can be seen in who I am. In Matthew 5: 14-16 Jesus says that “you are the light of the world” and “let your light shine before men.” If you’ve spent time around any loving, mature Christians, you know what Jesus is referring to here. When I talk to these “brilliant” believers, I’ve discovered that their time with God isn’t tucked into a tiny corner of their day, but more of an ongoing conversation.
- Those that shine are meant to go out into the night. The unique value of glow in the dark objects is only apparent when you take them out into the darkness and use them. So, too, with my faith. My closeness with God isn’t just an inner light, but something meant to attract others to the one behind it. Even those of us who feel like we’re merely a ten watt bulb in church can take heart—in the darker corners of our world that will stand out like the brightest lighthouse.
Each day, as you head out into a dark, chaotic world, know that your mere presence can brighten the lives of others. Because of this, it is important to remember that the time you spend in prayer with God not only has practical, spiritual value for you, but also for all those lives you touch each day.
Please share your own “glow in the dark” experience in the comment section below.