I read this week in one of my devotional readings about Robert Louis Stevenson when he was a child and saw them lighting the street lamps. He actually said he thought they were poking holes in the darkness!
The more I thought about it, the more I’m thinking that that is exactly what they were doing! Not only that, but that’s what we should be doing too! See what Philippians 2:13-15 says.
Isn’t the world seeing dark times? Syria, France, Turkey, etc. In fact, I could list 20 places that are now experiencing conflict. We (as individuals) may not be able to do anything about those because of how major they are and the fact that we haven’t got much of an influence; that is, most of us.
Holes, meaning darkness, discomfort, distress, hunger, mental health issues, they are all around us and we are expected to do what we can to help. If the shoe were on the other feet, we would want the holes in our circumstances to be plugged too. I remember when the refugee crises started and how many thousands of people wanted a home; just a safe place to be with their families. Isn’t that what all of us want? And yet there were thousands of seemingly heartless people whose view it was that we should send them all back to wherever they were coming from! It seems that some people only have feelings for humanity only if the human is part of their flesh and blood!
The image above would be totally black (dark) were it not for the white coloured font and the two lights poking holes in the darkness.
My aim is to share 20 or so scenarios with you and I’m sure that for each one you’ll be able to think of something you could do to help to poke holes in the darkness. I’ll then share my own experience with you on how I poked a massive hole in my own darkness.
- Back to school and a family you know well is struggling financially to prepare
- For some reason, the neighbour next door refuses to say hi even when you do
- A child in church struggles to remain quiet and the parents have almost given up
- You pass the same beggar on the street every day sitting in the same spot
- Your church badly needs volunteers for community service work on your day off
- You know of a family where the adult female is physically abused almost daily in her home
- The elderly lady next door lives alone and desperately need help with her domestic chores. In fact, this could be your good deed today.
- You get an envelope asking for donations from a well-known charity that provides for people in natural disasters worldwide
- A young mother in the neighbourhood has asked if you would be willing to take care of her two young children two evenings per week while she does a part time job to try to make ends meet
- A friend constantly talks about just being tired of life and wanting to give up
- You see a stranger on the bus in floods of tears! No one has approached her
- Your neighbour’s child has confided in you that they actually have no grocery in the house!
- In line at the airport, they pull you out of the queue for a random search of your person and luggage, setting you back.
- The usual request has come around again for individuals to help clean the place of worship/social gathering
- You have discovered someone who you were once close to, but who let you down badly sometime in the past, now has 3rd stage cancer.
- Volunteers are being requested to help teach English to migrants who have settled here.
- Questions have been raised about why you don’t ever go out to drink and party with the others at the work place.
- Someone is trying to damage your reputation by making false accusations against you.
- You have been called to give testimony in court for a friend, but really you are being asked to lie.
- An urgent call has come in for blood donation after a major calamity hit your town, you have been spared danger.
I had a good paying teaching job that I eventually left when it started to take over my entire life and leaving me stressed to the max! During those years, much of my earnings were spent poking holes in the darkness, so to speak. I was charitable (quite an understatement, if I’m honest) and only realised how much I was giving away when the requests continued to come in but I couldn’t afford to give anymore.
To be honest, I didn’t regret that I had been so generous. I saw it as my way of poking holes in the darkness and I would do it again. Anything to love justice, and mercy and to walk humbly with God. It actually poked holes into my darkness too, as I desperately had to leave that job but I came out rejoicing that I had regained control of my life and sanity.
Sometimes life will not be rosy and peachy. Hard times will come. And they will challenge you, who you say you are, and what or who inspires you. Give it a think before something major happens. Will you poke holes in the darkness? Or will you hide your tiny flickering light underground?
Have a good week.