Today I was in a quiet, dark yoga studio. The shades were down on an overcast, late autumn morning. A tall lamp was lit beside me, and it provided a soft, warm glow in the room.
Before the teacher began, she raised the shades, and daylight came pouring in. This is my favorite place to sit. I am not distracted by others, and I can think here. I stare out the window as I stretch and breathe, loosening my body and freeing my mind. I unwrap and unwind. I look out the window at the flag fluttering, at the bird perched on the sill, at the trucks making deliveries, at the tall brick library, at the changing sky. The light wakes me up and reminds me that I am no longer prisoner to my pathological sleep rhythms that once kept me awake all night and sleeping all day. I relish the sun on my face, and it is why I try to get that one space right up by the window every time I come.
Today, as I consider the light pouring in despite the clouds, I notice the lamp still lit, now pale in comparison. I find it remarkable how it was once warm, powerful, my best way to see in this dark room, but overcome by the sun, it melts back to its rightful place as a gift, an aid, a way to get to the window for the real light to come streaming through.
I begin to think of the verses I read about love in 1 John this morning. I think about how, like the sun pours out light, God pours out love in abundance through his Son, and how that love abides in us and is perfected in us when we love one another. I think of my husband and how he has been the lamp in my dark room for so many years. He continues to allow God's love to flow through him to me, through a hug, through non-judgmental listening, through feedback and a gentle example that makes me think deeply and keep seeking God.
In the dark, when someone truly loves God, they can be a lamp, channeling his love. Light in a dark world. And when I wonder in my dark moments - does God see my pain? does God even care when I don't get a response to prayers prayed for decades? I look to my husband and see - here is my lamp of love, sacrificing, serving, lifting me up, reminding me that when the shade is lifted, when Jesus returns, the daylight will come pouring into my soul.
So take heart. It is night. We are not home yet. You may look around at this world, at this election, at all the hate, at all the proud things said. You may pray, and it may seem that nothing happens, that God does not care. But there are still people filled with God's love. You may be one of them. They are not Christians only "in word or talk, but in actions and in truth." And if you know one of these lamps, remember they are your encouragement to keep waiting, to keep longing, to keep persevering until the shade is pulled up, the sun comes flooding in, and you feel love fully, as you have never felt before. This is the promise in 1 John. And we can trust this lamp. He, after all, was "the one whom Jesus loved," and he says:
"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us." - 1 John 4:11-12
So because of the love Jesus showed us by laying down his life and forgiving our sins, let us believe in him, live through him, love like him, and choose to be a lamp to someone until the Son returns to shine again.