When I was growing up, we didn’t have enough money to have an outdoor light. This was a problem only in the winter, when my brother and I went down to the barn to feed up. We would take a flashlight with us to find our way to and around the barn.
God gave little brothers big brothers so the big brothers can scare the little brothers to death. It happened almost every night. We would finish feeding the horses, and start to head back to the house when Steve would turn off the flashlight and start running toward the house in the dark. He would call back over his shoulder, “Panther! And he likes young meat!” In that moment, all I knew was it was dark, I was scared, panthers were dangerous, and I was younger meat than Steve.
I could hear Steve laughing as he ran off to the house. I start to grope my way out of the barn, to the gate, and then make my way in the general direction of the house. Occasionally there would an unexpected noise, probably a horse snorting. In the dark, however, a horse snorting sounds just like a panther. When you think you hear a panther, you can do amazing things for a five year old. I would leap a six foot fence, slash my face on orange trees, and pray for God’s protection all at the same time. In fact, in an odd way, you could say my brother taught to pray by inducing panic.
I have mostly forgiven Steve for traumatizing me during my childhood (except for occasionally getting revenge by writing columns about him). I know he was merely enjoying the fact he had the light, and I didn’t.
Is there a perverse pleasure in your heart that you have the light of Jesus, while others are in darkness? Do you ever feel superior because you have made it safely to the Father’s house, while others are stumbling, terrified of the sounds of the night? Are you running away with the light while the people who need the light are struggling in shadows?
I believe this year, 2016, is a year God wants us to share light. Alice Drive will celebrate our 60th birthday this year. What better way to honor our Father in heaven than by sharing the light of Jesus so people can see their way to the Father’s house. Make this the year you are sharing your story, sharing your resources, and sharing your gifts. Let’s share the light – and keep the panthers away.