It was Saturday afternoon, and we had successfully positioned our trailer in the corner of the church parking lot on the south side of Minneapolis, Minnesota. After getting my family settled, I went to the pastor’s office to go over the details of the week of revival and have a time of prayer. As we were leaving the building about an hour later, he said, “Let me show you where the electrical breaker panel is just in case you lose your electricity—it’s kind of hidden down in the basement.” It wasn’t uncommon for us to trip a breaker when all six of us were getting ready for church on Sunday morning.
We made our way down the stairs to a large fellowship hall and walked to the opposite end where in a small closet was the panel. He pointed out the breaker switch. I recalled as we walked back across the fellowship hall that there was nothing in that large open area. I thought, “This will be a great place for the kids to play this week while we are here.” We climbed the stairs, said, “Good night,” and I rejoined my family in the trailer.
With services starting early the next morning, the kids took baths later that night, and we were vacuuming the trailer carpet when sure enough—we tripped the breaker! Everything went dark but we were all used to the drill. Dad would have to find the church key (which in this case was still in my pocket), head to the church, and reset the breaker. With the words “I’ll be right back,” I headed across the parking lot, unlocked the church door, and headed down the stairs to the basement. About half way down the stairs, I realized that the basement was very dark and I couldn’t see a thing. I went back up to the church entry to find a light switch. I was soon to learn that while I knew where the breaker panel was, the Pastor had not pointed out where the light switch was to the stairs or the basement! I searched everywhere I could think of but to no avail.
Thinking it was perhaps at the bottom of the stairs or somewhere near it, I ventured down those dark steps once again. After feeling along the walls in every direction possible without success, I thought, “I’m just going to have to cross the dark abyss of the church fellowship hall without light.” Knowing there was absolutely nothing in that large room, I walked confidently in the darkness toward the small closet at the far end of the building. Suddenly, out of nowhere I was stuck with something metal right in the throat. Gasping for air and holding my throat I scrambled to my feet and ran to the stairway and out the door. Upon arrival in the trailer, I announced to my wife and kids that there was a monster in the church basement and we would have to live in the dark until morning!
At daylight I armed myself with a baseball bat and made my way back to the building. Upon reaching the basement, I was stunned. Something had changed! The room was no longer empty. The teenagers had enjoyed an indoor soccer game late Saturday night, and I had been attacked by the top bar of a soccer goal that had been placed in my path to that closet!
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Many people are confident that they can make it across the room of life without that light. Life is too busy and complicated to search for a light. They mistakenly assume nothing really bad will happen and if it does, they’ll figure it out somehow. If their own knowledge or experience is insufficient, they’ll just find someone else to follow on the broad way that leads to destruction.
But the world is rapidly changing. Life in the twenty-first century is filled with unexpected obstacles. Hazards line the road that lead to the so called happiness we seek. The path of life is filled with roadblocks, detours, and unexpected accidents that leave people confused, frustrated, angry, and lost. As Christians, we are not the answer in this dark world of sin, but we know the source of Light. John the Baptist lived in a culture that likewise had lost its way. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:6–9). John knew that the only hope for man was Jesus Christ—the Light of the world. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world…” (John 1:29).
God has placed us in a world of darkness with one purpose—to be a light! “And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light to them which are in darkness” (Romans 2:19). “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
I didn’t sleep much that Saturday night. My throat ached and my heart raced as I dreaded going back into that basement to face the foe in the fellowship hall. I kept thinking, “If only the pastor had shown me where the light switch was located!” Sadly today, many Christians have hidden the light. Whether ashamed, shy, or just plain lazy, we cannot avoid the command of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
All of the darkness in this world cannot extinguish one light. You may be the only reflection of Light in your family or workplace or even in your community, but let your light shine. One light can expel a lot of darkness so long as it is shining. I didn’t need a spotlight or even an overhead light that night. A simple candle or flashlight would have enabled me to navigate safely across that room. Brighten the corner where you are. God will enable you. This changing world desperately needs you to be a faithful light.