Light in Darkness

I’ve worked for many organizations over the years: large, small, for-profit, non-profit, faith-based, and secular.  Though the industries and my roles have been different, the challenges of living out my faith has been consistent.

Some organizations have been better than others; however, I’ve found myself handling workplace challenges in two basic ways.  My first inclination is to pray persistently. Something like “Lord to give me strength to endure”.  After enduring, I’ll then change my prayers to asking for deliverance.  “How long Lord?”, or ” What lesson am I suppose to learn Lord?”  You know the drill. Pray Until Something Happens.  PUSH prayers.

And during these trying times I’ll gather with my holy huddle.  My faithful friends who commiserate with me.  The ladies I lunch with and wax eloquent with about workplace darkness.  And after one of these power lunches I’ll feel better.  For a while.  Until the next “thing”.  Then the cycle starts over again.  Endurance prayer. Deliverance prayer. Holy huddle lunch.  This approach has a form of godliness but lacks power.

As a Christ follower I am called to follow Christ, so how did He deal with darkness?  The gospels of  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth.  He interacted with darkness but didn’t handle it the way I do.    Rather than run from darkness He went toward it.  The gospel of John calls Jesus the Light which shines in the darkness.  So as a Christ follower I am not called to bemoan the fact that I have been placed in darkness. I am called to shine His light.  Sometimes He’ll direct me to be a candlelight which is gentle and soothing.  Other times I’m called to be a floodlight: bright, blaring, and downright uncomfortable.  Different light for different types of darkness. Light none the less.

So rather than pray for endurance and deliverance, my prayers  must be guidance prayers.   Lord, what type of light should I  shine in each circumstance?  This is how I consistently live as a Christ follower in dark places. Not in fear but faith.  Not accepting darkness but shining His light.  One day at a time.  One circumstance at a time.  Guided by the True Light at all times!

Grace and peace,

Karen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When God Leads You To Prison

I wonder if anyone can identify with following the Lord’s direction, then finding yourself in a spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical prison?  For several years this was my experience.

God clearly led me to what I hoped was my dream job: my God given passions would finally lead to career satisfaction!  Within a few short weeks I realized this was not the case.   Not only was I unable to work in my strengths and abilities, workplace success would mean compromising my faith. The dream job quickly turned into a nightmare.  I’m sure many can identify with having hopes dashed.  So, how does a Christ-follower process these seasons when they are God-directed?

The apostle Paul found himself in a similar situation. He was clearly called by God to share the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles.  Yet he found himself constantly in danger and finally imprisoned. I can’t speak for Paul, however, I continue to be surprised when following the Lord leads me into prison-like circumstances.

In Acts 26, Paul  makes the most profound statement regarding the reason for his imprisonment.  Rather than do what I normally do which is whine and play the blame game, Paul said ”  And now I am [c]standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being accused by Jews.  

Paul wasn’t imprisoned because the leaders were threatened or because he was an ineffective preacher. Rather Paul was right in the middle of the cosmic battle between the Lord and satan. Between those who believed God’s promises and those who either didn’t know or rejected the promises of God through Christ!  Unfair treatment, lost opportunities, rejection, and many other prisons are actually manifestations or fruit. However, the root of these behaviors is unbelief. 

So if you’ve followed the Lord and are now in a type of prison, here are a few lessons God taught me:

It’s not about me (or you)- I must confess to struggling with worshiping the unholy trinity of me, myself, and I.  Yes God loves me, however, His main concern for my life is not my happiness. He’s more concerned with transforming me into His image as I live out His calling which often includes prison experiences.

It’s not about them- While prison experiences will include unjust treatment by  people of limited integrity, they are still under the Sovereign rule of God.  In fact, He loved “them” so much that He sent Jesus to die for “them” so “they” would have eternal life.  This is why Paul said in Acts 26:16 [y]I would wish to God, that whether [z]in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”  

It’s all about  God- God’s purposes will be fulfilled in my life and in all those who trust in Him.  Philippians 1:6 says For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  

His job is the make it happen, my job is to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul, and love my neighbor (even those to mistreat me) as myself.

Grace and peace,

Karen