Light of the World

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John 1:5 – “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Another translation of this verse says,

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

            I find this verse so encouraging, because in the midst of so much brokenness all around me here in Uganda, in the lives of those near and dear to me, I have seen even more light. Light so incomprehensible that it can only come from above.

Light that outshines darkness… Every. Single. Time.

            I love the description of this concept as like a child with a flashlight. No matter how dark or scary the room or surroundings may be, as soon as they turn that flashlight on, the light overcomes the darkness and shines through, every time.

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In John 8:12, it says,

“Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

             Someone here explained it to me as, when the light comes in, the battle is over. Darkness cannot even compete with the light, because the light shines through, immediately. And where there is light, there is absolutely no room for darkness.

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            Another dear friend here was talking about a vision she had about, as Christians, our call to be lighthouses. Jesus gives us light to shine out to others, beckoning them in to receive the love, grace, and hope that He so desperately wants all to see and experience.

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I love the verse in Matthew 5:14-16, that says,

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

            We are called to be lights in this world. Because, when we know Jesus, He puts His spirit inside of our hearts. And, if you think about it, that means we literally have the  light of the world living inside of us. And how powerful is that!

I see this light in my students.

In my best friend here, Grace.

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In her beautiful, radiant children.

In the smiles and waves of strangers I pass by on the red dirt roads I walk or travel on. In the hugs of little children who run up to me, saying, “Mzungu! Hello! How are you?!” (in the broken bits of English they have picked up on over the years), sometimes in the middle of a FaceTime date with my sweet fiancé back at home. 

            In the joyful spirits of the children from the nearby slums and villages who come to our Saturday Kids’ Club, to play, dance, be fed, and hear about the good news of Jesus Christ. 

             I have been so humbled, daily, by the joy that I see in the midst of some of the most challenging circumstances my friends here face. Whether it is the frequent deaths of family members and friends, the sickness of loved ones, or the struggle to provide financially, I see women who trust in Jesus. Who continue to combat the darkness around them with the light. Who pray without ceasing, wholeheartedly trusting Jesus to provide exactly what they need. To meet them where they are.

             In the lives of my students, I see eyes that have seen and experienced more hurt than I can possibly comprehend, but yet, so much light. And the contagious joy they have every minute of every day, no matter what may have happened at home the night before, is absolutely indescribable.

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             Elevation Worship just came out with a new album, and the lyrics to one of the songs I have had playing on repeat the past few weeks, called God of the Promise, go like this:

“Light of the world, trampled the darkness. Nothing can stop it, you are the God of the promise. Every word, will be accomplished. Nothing can stop it, you are the God of the promise…. Throw off your chains, Jesus destroyed them all. Up from the grave, He is with us now!”

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             My precious fiancé, Wesley Mabry, was speaking so much truth to me the other night during our FaceTime date to encourage me as I continue to serve day in and day out here in Uganda. He started reading in Philippians about the call on these Christians to live a life worthy of the gospel. But the part that really stuck out to Him, that He continued to repeat to me over and over again, said, “…then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15).

             We are not called to fit in. Or to follow the cultural norm. We are called to be lights in this world. To shine like stars in the night sky. Because in Jesus Christ, we have the greatest light of all, the light of the world, living inside of us!

             A light that was meant to be shared with others, because not only does it brighten up a room or the sky, it brings life and hope to the hearts of those around us. The same hope that has been given to us.

1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

             As I am so beautifully learning from the people I have met here in Uganda, no matter the circumstances around us, we have a light that cannot be taken away. Like my preschoolers’ song, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let It Shine,” we have a light. Every single one of us. And we are called to let it shine for the glory of God!

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Isaiah 60:1 – “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

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