The other night, I made a dumb mistake.

I wasn’t going to tell you about it, but I just have to.

Although I knew better, I watched the news for over an hour.
I listened intently as they described one horrific thing after another, in vivid detail.
And afterwards, I felt sick.

There were murders. Scandals. Hatred. Shootings.

It reminded me of the old country song:

Gloom. Despair. And agony on me.
Deep, dark depression. Excessive misery.
(some of you remember)

And I began to think: the world is so dark, is there any light left?

Gloom. Despair. And agony on us all.

But then I read a post from my friend Katherine, whose husband is recovering from an 18-hour cancer surgery at M.D. Anderson. For days, she’s slept on plastic hospital couches and survived on vending machine food just to be at his side. And bless her heart, this isn’t his first surgery. Her husband has been battling cancer since 2017.

But now Katherine has a newborn and she’s trying her best to care for both her critically ill husband and her baby—at the same time.

Here’s what she wrote:

“Please pray for the Lord’s will to be done in our lives and
that we will give all glory to God, in every circumstance.”

Her faithful words beamed through my dark, heavy thoughts like a ray of light. And suddenly, the shadows of gloom disappeared.

That’s what light does. It drives out darkness.

Then I realized something. She’s not the only one.
A lot of you are out there are shining, too.

You love till it hurts. You’re grateful in hard circumstances. You honor God. You don’t lose hope, even when things are tough. You believe, no matter what. And you do sooooo much good.

How do I know? Because I see you shine.

You are light in a dark world.

As the Bible says:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matt. 5:14 

Your light touches more people than you know. People like me.

I’ve seen your good deeds.
When you shine, it changes the world.

Jesus said:
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt. 5:16

That’s what you do.

So today, I’m praising God because I see His light shining within you.

But you may be wondering exactly who “you” are.

• You’re the kind lady who held my fussy granddaughter in the church nursery last week. You aren’t a paid sitter; you just volunteer because you love God. Thank you.

• You quietly held your friend’s hand last July while her husband was being buried in the ground. I saw light as I watched your hand become the hand of God.

• You’re the friendly guy I see at 7 a.m. Every. Single. Friday. You lead a teen boys’ Bible study at a local restaurant. I praise God for your dedication. It is light to me.

• You’re the brave man who donated your kidney to a dying friend and saved her life. Your light burns so brightly I feel unworthy to look at it.

• You’re the neighbor who opened your home to an abused girl from Nigeria. Your light inspires me.

• You’re the kind couple who had a fish fry last summer for my husband and me. Thanks for turning on your warm, welcome-to-the-neighborhood light.

• You’re those selfless foster parents I know, who’ve already adopted four children and are trying to adopt another. Your home is light in a dark world.

• You’re my oldest reader (94+ years & counting). And even though your health is failing, you open up the church directory every week and pray over each family. Keep on shining Mrs. Paula!

• You call me often and ask, “How can I pray for you?” Because of your beautiful light, I can see God’s answers more clearly.

• You’re the friend who runs an after-school program for impoverished kids. I see you generously bringing the light to those children and their families. It reaches much further than you know.

• You’re the lady who hosts a young women’s Bible study in your home. You teach them and love them and even cook for them! Your service is light.

• You’re the FCA leader who texted a verse to my husband the other day. You didn’t know it, but it gave him light when he really needed it. I praise God for you, Bro. Ken.

• You’ve hosted Christian couples and parent-teen retreats at your property (aptly called the Promised Land) for twelve years now. 12! Your dedication spreads much light, not only to me, but to thousands of others.

• You adopted a dying child from Haiti. Thank you for displaying the gospel so powerfully in your life. What an incredible way to share the light.

• You’re my friend who’s cared for your critically ill daughter for over a decade without complaining. Your love is a light that glorifies the Lord and overwhelms the darkness.

• You’re the stranger who invited my son to lunch after church when he first moved to Dallas. Do you know how much that means to a mother? Probably not. But stranger, you shine.

• You’re my college friend who donated your son’s organs after his tragic death. Thank you for loving God enough to share your beautiful story with me.

• You’re the widow who unselfishly puts aside your own grief to reach out to others who are also grieving. You’re a shining example for me.

• You lead our small group. You cook and pray and serve and do more than anyone else. And I love you for it. Shine on, Julie.

• You are the readers who choose to read posts like this one, instead of feeding on a steady diet of darkness, called the “24-hour news.” You refuse to fill your mind with Twitter negativity or Netflix filth. Instead you fill it with the word of God. And with things that are good and excellent and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8-9). And as you share Godly thoughts and posts with others, you spread the light.

Perhaps you haven’t done some of the things listed above, but you’ve done similar things, bringing light into darkness.

I know you have.

Do you know how brightly you shine?

Thank you, dear children of light, for making this dark world a much brighter place.

Although most of your acts of love go unreported and are largely unnoticed, I see you. And so does the Lord. The Bible promises us that:

“God is fair; he will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for him by helping his people. And he will remember that you are still helping them.” Heb. 6:10 NCV