It is summertime in Nebraska and that means one of my favorite bugs is buzzing around after dark. Of course I am speaking of the lightning bug! I just love watching these little creatures after dark as they buzz around in the back yard. When I was a child we used to try to catch as many lightning bugs as we could and then place them in a mason jar that had holes poked into the lid so that the bugs could live. We would prepare the jar with some fresh grass that we picked from the back yard so that the bugs would feel more comfortable in their little bug motel! Then we would delight ourselves with the homemade lantern that brought a brighter light into the summer night. We were often pleasantly surprised that some of the chemicals from the bugs transferred to us and then we saw our hands glow in the dark. Oh what fun memories.
I am sure that somewhere there is a book that will explain the mystery of the lightning bug and it will have some long hard-to-pronounce scientific name for the bug. But I don’t want to know what some scientist has to say about these little critters, I just want to enjoy them and remember how much I love to watch them. I will introduce them to my granddaughter one of these days when she is here visiting and hopefully pass on the love for these magical creatures that God created for us to enjoy. They remind me of how we Christians are to live our life and how we are to shine in the darkness of this world. We are in the light and the light shines in us and through us, the light of Jesus! John tells us about the light in the first chapter of his book.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:1-12, (New American Standard Bible or NASB).
I love that the darkness did not comprehend the light. Other versions of the Bible say that the darkness has not overcome the light. Jesus has the light and I am so thankful that as one of God’s children I can have direct access to the light. I want to walk in the light and not in the darkness. I am not afraid of the dark but I would much rather have light than darkness. It seems that people’s worse deeds are often done under the cover of darkness but when there is light crimes are less likely to be committed. I would not walk down a darkened alley or street at night by choice but I would not hesitate to walk that same path if it were well-lit. I think that is why I like the little lightning bugs because they remind me that even in the darkest places God’s light can shine. Oh it might not be a huge light or a glaring light, but it is there and it is a comfort to those weary souls who are looking for the light and waiting for it to shine.
Lightening bugs make me think of the little song that I sang as a small child, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna to let it shine, this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” I hope that I am a light shining in the darkness of humanity. I hope that those who know me are encouraged by the light of Jesus they see in me. I hope that you, dear reader, can see the light of Jesus shining through this writing. Light brings happiness and safety and a sense of security while darkness often brings fear and uneasy feelings. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul and his description to King Agrippa of when he met the light.
“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. “And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:12-18, (NASB).
Jesus sure got Paul’s attention didn’t He? I love that Paul was sent to the gentiles to tell them of the love of God and to bring them the light because I am a Gentile. I am so thankful that many people throughout the generations have passed the light to those around them because somewhere along my genealogical path a Christian told an ancestor of mine about how Jesus is the light of the world and that truth was passed down to where it has reached me. Maybe that is why I like lightning bugs because they do remind me of how there is light in the darkness. The little bug is not very large but it gives off a light so bright that I can see it clear across the yard! I hope as Christians we can also give off such a bright light of hope and good news to the darkness that surrounds us daily. And when we see someone else’s light shining through then we will know that we are not alone and that should encourage us! Just as the yard full of lightning bugs encourages as well.
And one more thought on the light…if you dear Christian shine your light and I shine mine then that is two lights that combine to make a brighter glow of light and if all Christians on the planet are shining their light of truth about Jesus then there will be many pockets of bright light. Like my memory of the bug motel lantern the church is made up of individuals who come together and shine the light of Jesus to bring a larger light signal to the world. We become a lantern in the darkness of humanity. I love that thought! Keep shining little bugs!