Today I invited Janet Salazar to the blog to discuss how our light can shine best in the darkness. This thoughtful post gives us pause and considers how we can honor God even—and possibly the most—in the darkest of places. I believe you’ll truly be blessed by this reading today. ~Susan
It is said that there are only a couple of places on earth where one can witness true darkness. No light pollution at all. Unadulterated night.
The closest I’ve come to true darkness happened years back when my boys were still in grade school. One night the power went out. The few street lamps and lights from houses around our country home went out. This, coupled with a cloudy winter sky and a sun that had long since set made the darkness almost palpable.
We got out all our candles, lit them, and spread them throughout the house. We ate by candlelight. We played some games, did a little homework, and noticed the quiet. All in the cozy peace provided by the comforting candlelight.
When the electricity returned just before bedtime, my children groaned. They had enjoyed being together in the candlelight.
But candlelight does not have the same effect during the day. For candles to be enjoyed, it must be dark.
That realization gave me a whole new perspective on the following passage:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp (candle) 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 men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 NIV
Job’s Candle in the Day
Job’s life was good and pleasant. As a faithful follower of God, he lived what he believed. He was well respected by everyone in the country, and famous for his care of the widow, the orphan, and the down and out.
God blessed him abundantly, so he was rich with land and livestock. He had lots of servants, a good marriage, and ten grown children.
However, we would never have heard of him if he hadn’t suffered the most terrible reversal of fortune in history. He would have been just another candle burning in the light of day.
The Story Behind the Reversal
One day, there was a galactic meeting of all the rulers of all the worlds that God created. Satan, who stole the rulership of this world from Adam, showed up at the meeting. And God couldn’t resist bragging a little about Job’s faithfulness to Him.
Satan had done his best to get Job to forget about God and depend on his riches. But it wasn’t working. Angry and desperate to prove himself right, Satan sneered, “The only reason he stays faithful to You is because it’s like an insurance policy. You don’t ever let anything bad happen to him.”
God loved Job with all His being. With tears in His eyes, He said, “All right. Let’s see you prove that. But you can’t touch Job himself.”
Satan’s smiled in triumph and hurried off to make his point.
Job’s Candle in the Dark
And Job lost it all in one day.
His children were killed, his livestock stolen or destroyed, and his servants killed. Since nearly everyone in the community worked for him, there wasn’t a household that wasn’t affected by his disaster in one way or another: lost income, dead fathers, brothers, and possibly sisters.
In their pain, they blamed Job and ostracized him. Even his wife, devastated by the loss of her children and the scorn of her community urged him to give up on God.
Night had fallen on Job. Bowed with pain, bereaved of his children, and without the support of even his wife, he clung to God instead of turning on Him.
The 2nd Galactic Council
God’s heart ached for Job, but He was so proud that he remained faithful. “You see, Satan, it isn’t because I provide an insurance policy. You took everything from him and he is still faithful to me.”
Satan was beyond frustration and yelled, “That’s because you won’t let me touch him. People will do anything to save themselves.”
“Okay,” God said. “Let’s test your theory. You can touch him, but you cannot take his life.”
A Night so Dark, He Could Feel It
Satan laughed in triumph and quickly returned to earth to afflict Job with incurable sores from the tip of his head to the soles of his feet. Job was banished to live outside the community on an ash pile where he scraped his sores with a broken piece of pottery.
Then, Satan inspired three of Job’s best and most trusted friends to come and tell him that everything that was happening to him was God’s punishment for some unconfessed sin. After all, if he was right with God, none of this would be happening.
Job was in terrible physical and emotional pain. He was grieving the loss of his children, all of his servants, the support of his wife, and his community. And now his “friends” were claiming God was doing it to punish him for some unconfessed sin?
They knew him well. The fact that they could even think that he would have some cherished sin hurt worse than the boils.
Job’s Candle at its Brightest
But despite it all, Job hung on to his belief in God. Even though God was silent. Even though he suffered a terrible loss, and no one gave him any support, not even his three best friends, Job clung to his God.
He knew the God he served and he knew that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18 NKJV).
Like Paul, Job’s response to his friends was essentially, “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NLT) In fact, in Job 19:25-27 he declares that when the resurrection takes place, he knows he will be raised to see his Redeemer with his own eyes.
Job’s faithfulness to God declared before all watchers that he loved and followed God, not for the material wealth and physical safety it brought; nor for the health and family relationships, it blessed him with.
Night had fallen, and Job’s candle was sitting on a stand giving light to everyone in the universe. It is still giving light to us, nearly 4,000 years later.
What About Our Candle?
Could it be that I, as a child of God, can reflect His light and love to the world best when I endure the night of affliction with unflagging faith in God?
Could it be that we, His faithful followers, best reveal the truth about God, when we are amid the darkness of suffering and trials? When our love for Him remains strong and we shine it on those around us?
We can choose to be the candle on the stand giving light to all in the house. We can choose to be the city on a hill whose light everyone can see from a distance when all is dark. We can choose to shine in the midst of darkness so that others can see God.
Or, we can choose to become angry at God and/or man. We can be filled with bitterness, complaining, and anger over our trials. All of which, causes our candle to dim and eventually go out.
Let’s choose to let our light shine so that when others see it, they will glorify our Father in heaven.
Janet Salazar is a recovering Pharisee striving for an authentic, personal relationship with God. Her passion is to inspire others to grow their relationship with God by sharing what she is learning. She is a pastor’s wife, mother of two, teacher, and published writer currently living in Maryland. Connect with her at janetfsalazar.com.
Mandy Farmer says
Beautifully written. I’ll be sharing this one.