For this "Saturday Rerun," I will take you back to something I wrote a couple of months ago. We don't get much light in the Northern Hemisphere this time of year so we try to brighten it up with Christmas lights. Originally entitled "When You're Weary, Feelin' Small," perhaps this story will help add a different illumination...
Claude Monet had the ability to paint what few others seemed to see. His ability to bring out the beauty of nature by highlighting contrasts of light, shadows and colors has helped millions open their eyes to a world they had previously missed.
I am increasingly amazed at relatively simple contrasts that make up glaring punctuations in the ministry of Jesus Christ. For instance, these two verses...
But Jesus ... didn't do many miracles there because of their hostile indifference.
Matthew 13:58 (The Message)
One day He was teaching ... and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.
Luke 5:17 (New American Standard Bible)
In other words, Jesus had the ability to "see" what others missed. The spiritual atmosphere wasn't the same everywhere he went. Light, shadows, colors. Hang with me; I'm going somewhere.
I have a friend who pastors a church in a small town on the other side of our state. In spite of his excellent education, great mind and good people skills, his church struggles. His town struggles. At times, you might even call it "hostile indifference."
In this difficult place, my friend recently made a commitment to stay. He knows there are places where the darkness isn't so prevalent. He knows he could go to a place more aware of the light of God's power. He has even wrestled recently with an unusual depression that might drive lesser faith people away.
We live in a culture where many would say to him, his church and his town: "Just start believing! Everything will get better!" If it were that easy, the Creator of Light (Colossians 1:16) could have just walked into Nazareth in Mathew 13, pushed the doubters aside and started massive miracles. But it doesn't usually work that way.
On the canvas of life, darkness gains prominence a brushstroke at a time. It can take years to fully envelope a place. It can take years of light to push it away.
That's what my friend is doing.