Several months ago, we received some significant hail damage to our home and during the storm, we lost a tree that has been in the yard for years. We immediately called a service to cut down the rest of the tree and remove the stump… but the area in the front yard looked bare and so we decided to replace the tree and see how quickly we could return the front yard to normal.
The new tree is much smaller, of course, and requires quite a bit of care to make sure that it survives the shock of being transplanted and has a chance to develop its root system. Consequently, I was given instructions to go out every other day and make sure that the mulch and area around the base of the tree is well watered. It has been stifling hot here this week and so I waited until later in the evening to get out the hose and give the tree “a drink.” In fact, it was dark out by the time that I headed out of the garage.
In the middle of watering, I saw a sight that I don’t recall seeing in years – a lightning bug or, as some prefer to say, a firefly… When we lived in the Chicago as kids, fireflies were a common sight. We would catch them in jars and watch them until we set them free, as we had learned from previous experience that you really can’t expect lightning bugs to live when they are confined to a glass jar with holes in it.
As I was writing this post, I also recalled that one of my favorite books as a beginning reader was a great little hardcover named, “Sam and the Firefly.” It is the wonderful story of Sam and his friend, Gus, who wrote “words” in the sky. As I was in our front yard tonight, I couldn’t help but be reminded of this favorite story of mine that Mom used to read to me before I was old enough to be able to sound out the words. Talk about being transported back to another time and place!
The observation of one lone firefly brought back great memories of the past and so many things that I had forgotten about. It was a real blessing to me. And I just stood out there and stared at this little flying bug, periodically lighting the yard as it casually flew around in the dark. But each time its light went on, you could tell exactly where it was -the dark was no match for my little bright friend.
It occurred to me that our faith life is very similar to this scene. Sometimes, we lose sight of Jesus and wander around in the dark. But Jesus is “light” and all we have to do is to follow the light and, according to the Bible, the darkness can’t stand against it. We just need to stay in the light and we won’t be disappointed with the result.
The apostle John wrote three short letters, or epistles, in addition to his Gospel and the Book of Revelation. These three letters were meant to provide guidance to the young churches and one of the points that John makes is that God is light… and that darkness can’t stand against the light. In fact, John thought this point was so important that it is in the first chapter of his first letter.
Interestingly, John writes in very simple Greek to his audience. Today, new students who are learning the original language do their first translation work in, you guessed it, 1 John. One of the amazing things about the way that John writes is that no matter where you are in your faith walk, John’s words always have something to say.
Our verse for tonight is the verse that John tells us about being in the light. The apostle tells us, in 1 John 1:5-7, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus always wants us to walk in the light with Him. Because when we walk in the light, darkness can’t endure the light of Jesus. My prayer is that we will all endeavor to walk in the light and let Jesus light the way for us to follow Him. And, if we should ever find ourselves in the darkness, we must be sure that we will look for the Lord and follow Him, just as I was able to see my little firefly… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…