When the Lights Go Out
Like tens of millions of people around the world, I am watching the Super Bowl this evening. There are a number of interesting stories surrounding tonight’s game between the San Fransisco 49er’s and the Baltimore Ravens. Ray Lewis, of the Ravens, is retiring after this evening’s game. Michael Oher, on the offensive line for the Ravens, is the player that the movie “The Blind Side” (with Sandra Bullock) was made about and their relatively new quarterback, Flacco, is entering the thin air of the elite NFL quarterbacks.
We also have the story of the two Harbaugh brothers, Jim and John, who are the head coaches of the opposing teams. And Kaepernick, the quarterback of the 49er’s, took over at an inopportune time and has done a remarkable job. It must special for Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, parents of the two coaches, to be in attendance to watch their sons battle for the Vince Lombardi trophy. There’s no denying that the game is an interesting one, but the thing that may be remembered more than anything else is the fact that more than half of the lights in the stadium went out during the third quarter of the game, delaying play for more than 35 minutes in the middle of the most watched game in the world.
And it’s not like they just flickered – between plays, they just went out. Obviously, it wasn’t scripted. It’s not like during the halftime show when Beyonce was singing and the lights were out for special effect. Nope – this just stopped things cold. And it was obvious that nobody knew what to do. The commentators were at a loss for words and I can just imagine that the people in the control booth were asking them to fill the time with meaningless drivel. The officials were also at a loss and were “in the dark” trying to figure out what to do.
The teams stayed on the field and the sidelines, but it was clear that the players were starting to stiffen up and the conditioning coaches were urging them to stretch out to make sure they wouldn’t get hurt when the game resumed. Everyone in the broadcast booth, as well as the officials, kept asking the same thing – “what happened?” And nobody knew the answer.
In fact, the stadium just issued an apology for the problem and the NFL felt compelled to issue a statement that they would provide more information as it became available. The big concern on the Raven’s bench was about momentum and whether they would lose focus once the lights came back on. Of course, on the 49er’s bench, things couldn’t get much worse, so I am sure the dark was a welcome relief. And sure enough, since the delay, at least of right now, 17 points have been scored by the 49er’s, with 109 yards of offense in comparison to 0 points and only twenty yards for the Ravens.
The point is that things changed when the lights went out and the field was covered in darkness. A loss of momentum, massive confusion, concern about what to do and even conjecture about whether the lights would come back on.
The fact of the matter is that in our spiritual lives, Jesus is the light. And for those of us who believe, the lights will never go out. But that’s not the case with much of the world. Because Christians are only a fraction of the people on the face of the earth and let’s face it, the world is full of darkness with occasional glimmering rays of light – just like the stadium in New Orleans. And what happened in the SuperDome is exactly what happens everywhere in the world where darkness descends on the people. Confusion, questions, anxiety and fear. That’s why Jesus, the light of the world, is so important. Because when we are in the light, things are okay – we have clear vision, can see into the distance, generally know where we are and where we are going, and we are more confident – less hesitant – about our destination.
It’s a lesson that can serve us well. Because I never want to be in the dark – I prefer the light of Jesus. The verse for tonight is from the lips of Jesus before he was crucified. We are told by the apostle John in his gospel, in John 12:35, “Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.” That ‘s a great reminder for all of us.
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus wants you to walk, and live, in the light. And when you have Jesus in your life, you can be assured that the lights will never go out. My prayer is that you will always look to Jesus as the source of your light – eternally. And when you live in the light, you have the power to light the path of others so they won’t ever have to live in the dark either. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…