A couple of weeks ago I spoke about seeking a Word from God for 2017. I am sure when we ask for something so specific as one word, many of us wish God would write it across the sky, so all we have to do is read it. But God doesn’t work like that. We have to look and listen, both with our natural eyes and ears, and our spiritual ones.
There were several words I was playing around with. Some because I liked the sound of them. They would not involve too much work, nor too much change. They would be easy to live with.
Others I discarded immediately. Their effect on my life would be drastic. Was that really what God wanted for me? They were not words that made me leap with joy but rather they submerged my soul in gloom – I didn’t think that was what God wanted for me either. There are times, I know, when God asks us to do things we are reluctant to do – but these words offered no life – so I laid them to one side – prepared (almost) to pick one of them up again if that was what God wanted.
Then, in a variety of ways, God began to reveal His word to me for 2017. Or, perhaps, initially, it was the opposite of His word – but it exposed a need that is growing in the world.
Watching a variety of news programmes, I became aware of a word that was used to describe many different scenarios. It is one I used earlier – gloom.
‘We live in gloomy times,’ they said. ‘Times are dark.’ ‘Dark war clouds are gathering over this city or that.’ ‘The financial scene is tough – and the future is gloomy.’ Over and over again people spoke of darkness.
I heard God speak to me in the depths of my mind and heart. ‘I want you to be the light in your world. Carry My light, shine for Me.’
It’s a daunting commission. Who am I to carry the Christ-light? Would it reveal my faults and failings to people and show them who I really am?
As the understanding grew, I heard the word in different ways. Someone, out of the blue, told me I looked radiant. (Really?) ‘You radiate light,’ she said. I was not sure how to respond. I was stunned.
‘Let your light shine before men and women,’ was part of the text read on that same day.
‘How are you shining Christ’s light in your community?’ I was asked by a young friend later in the week.
But what clinched it was a late Christmas gift from a friend. Last year we exchanged Christmas gifts just before my birthday in May (we don’t see each other very often). This year we were determined to do better. She knows me well. She gave me an adult colouring book and a beautiful box of crayons. I find colouring is restful and brings peace to my soul. I opened up the book of Scripture verses that invited me to colour them. The first page I saw said,
‘Be the light.’
All doubt fled. This was my word for 2017. ‘I will, Lord,’ I whispered. ‘Please hold Your light high for me so it is Your light that shines through me.’
‘I will,’ He replied.
So I pray, at the start of this year, ‘May you see the Christ-light shine in Me,’ as I strive to be light for Jesus in a darkening world.
Darkness cannot conquer light for it cannot exist where light is present. How will you shine for Jesus in your world in 2017? What word has He given you this year?