It’s been just a few short weeks since the sudden and frightening storm now so commonly known as a “Derecho” blew through our area leaving thousands of people for several days without power. Until that unexpected night, most of us had never experienced a summer event quite like it.
But when our lights went out with the wind and heat, something important happened. God’s light began to flicker and grow brighter with each passing day. That’s what we see repeatedly in times of disaster. When our lights go out, God’s light of love comes on.
Neighbors met in front yards to help one another move tree limbs and debris. People checked on the elderly and the chronically ill, making sure they had adequate provisions and care. Businesses, churches, and civic buildings opened as “cooling centers” for respite relief. Many with power offered their homes to those in need and so whole families moved in together—sometimes multiple families all sleeping over at a friend’s house.
When our lights go out, God’s light of love comes on.
It’s sad that it often takes a disaster for hearts and homes to be opened to friends and strangers alike, but it’s a great blessing and an encouragement to see it happen. It reminds us that we do not truly live independently from one another—or from God. Since humankind has been created by God in His own image, there is a latent, deep impulse in the human heart for community and relationship that reflects God’s own desire for those same connections with us. We need God. We need one another. We are not the solo captains of our own ships, and we are shaken to acknowledge that fact when the ships of our lives suddenly run aground on the winds of a summer’s storm. We’re in this thing of life together.
In the Bible, the blind are often the ones who see and those with sight are blind. Just so, when our lights go out and we sit in darkness, that’s exactly when we finally can see fully in the light of God’s love and hear again His call to care and help one another.
When our lights go out, God’s light of love comes on. So what a blessing of God such a storm has proven to be! Now the challenge ahead will be for us to keep our hearts and homes open to others, even when the days cool off and the power stays flowing. May the light of God’s love shining through our lives never dim.
Mark Graham is the Senior Pastor at St, John’s Lutheran Church located at 4608 Brambleton Ave. Visit them on the web at: www.stjohnlutheran.org