I ran across a statement recently that said, “You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refused to surrender.” I really, really like that statement. It can make so clear who and what we were created to be.
You’ll remember in the Gospel of John 1:1-5, we’re told “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Sometimes, we let our circumstances define us. We let those things that happen to us be what shapes and forms us. Its easy to do. We let the bitterness of how we’ve been treated, make us bitter toward others. We let the hard and difficult times we walk through make us hard and withdrawn. We allow hatred to turn us into hate-full people. We allow violence to bring out the violence in us we’re capable of. All of these dark things can have an impact on us, if we allow them to.
We sometimes forget that from the very beginning, we were created for life, and that life lights up the entire world around us. We are the light of the world, and when we remember that, no amount of dark days can overcome the light that is within us.
This week, on Saturday, our African-American sisters and brothers will celebrate “Juneteenth.” This is a celebration of when word reached Texas of President Abraham Lincoln’s Executive Order freeing all slaves. On June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger announced General Order No. 3 in Galveston, Texas. Celebrations of this day date to 1866 and have spread throughout the United States. This is a day for celebration of freedom, and to look back on what African-Americans had to endure. They look back and remember the difficulties, the oppression, the degradation, the inhumanity, the violence they had to endure. They thank God for bringing them through those times. Yes, the times were dark and torturous, and yet the light within them continued to burn bright. The light in them shone brightly for others to see and be attracted to. Our African-American brothers and sisters’ story is also all of our story. We learn and we grow from each other’s stories. We learn to celebrate one another, to support one another, to lift up one another, to love one another.
I pray that the light of the world is shining brightly in each of you. I wish for you that God use you to bring light into every darkened corner. I believe that no matter what darkness you walk through, it will not overcome your light.
Love and Peace,