Always Look for the Light

Always Look for the Light

For many years there was a little potted plant on our kitchen window sill, though I’ve long since forgotten the variety. Year after year that plant would put out a shoot and from the shoot would emerge a single flower. And I observed that no matter how I turned the pot, the flower would respond. If I turned the pot so the flower was facing the room, within a day or two it would have turned to face the light. And if I rotated it again, the flower would respond in the same way, turning itself toward the light streaming in from the window. I could not fool it. I could not discourage it or persuade it to give up.

You cannot read about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ without noticing his love for the natural world. Many of his most vivid illustrations are drawn from nature—the birds, the plants, the trees, the winds. You often observe him making use of the natural elements that were right before him to help his listeners understand his teaching—the fig tree that failed to bear fruit, the fields that were white for harvest, the birds that were unconcerned about their next meal.

And in that vein, I learned a lesson from that little flower—the lesson of the potted plant. No matter how I turned the plant, it dutifully responded by realigning itself to face the light. No matter how many times I turned it and no matter how completely I turned it, it responded in the same way.

From the plant, I learned that life’s circumstances often turn us into times of darkness, times when we are overcome by pain, sorrow, or other trials. For a time the world around us may look dark and foreboding, like the Valley of the Shadow of Death is closing in around us and threatening to swallow us up. Yet our duty in such times is to look for the light and to turn toward it.

God never leaves us without some truth to believe in, some promise to cling to, some hope to long for, some light to turn toward.

And there always will be a source of light, for our God never deserts or abandons us. He never leaves us without some truth to believe in, some promise to cling to, some hope to long for, some light to turn toward. For God does not just have light or display light—he is light.

I’m certain that if I had taken my little potted plant to a dimly lit room in a hospital, it would still have turned toward whatever light came from the window, no matter how dim the source. I’m certain that if I took it to a prison cell with nothing but a single little window high above, it would lift its face toward that one shaft of light. It could not be stopped. It could not be discouraged. It could not be dissuaded.

And neither should we ever be dissuaded from turning toward the Lord in every circumstance. Our eyes may be weary and full of tears, the light may seem distant and dim, but the Lord is present, close to the broken-hearted and eager to save those who are crushed in spirit. It falls to us to simply turn and to look toward the light that streams from his presence and illumines us with his grace.

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