A Flicker of Light
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos
Thursday, August 3, 2017
“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew 5:15 NIV
This year, I was blessed to serve with a mission team in Curahuasi, Peru. While the scenery that surrounded me was stunningly beautiful, pictures could never describe the full experience of Curahuasi.
After sixteen hours on planes and in airports, our team climbed into a van for a three hour drive to our mission hub. As our driver sped around the curvy and treacherous roads that coiled around the Andes Mountains, all I could think about was the very real possibility that our van could drive off of the side of a cliff.
As we all grew nauseous with fear and motion sickness, it did not help that we were over 11,000 feet above sea level. At this altitude, we were all feeling the effects of altitude sickness. When we finally arrived at our lodging for the week, all I could think about was a shower and sleeping in a warm bed.
As I settled in that first night, I pulled back the covers. I was frozen with terror as a spider streaked across the bed sheets. I quickly grabbed a shoe and killed the spider. I then ran to a teammate’s room and begged her to come help me search my bed because I am terrified of spiders.
Simply seeing a spider makes my heart race, and knowing that a spider was just in my bed was too much. Even though we pulled off all the covers and shook the pillows, my exhausted mind could not calm down. I called my husband and burst into tears as I insisted that I would never be able to last a week in Peru.
Luckily, I was able to sleep that night, and I was able to learn the lesson that I needed to learn in Peru. One of the projects we worked on was delivering food to needy families. One woman that we met was paralyzed and confined to bed.
She had an infection in her leg that would have been easily treated in the United States; however, in Peru, the infection spread. As the infection ravaged her body, she had a stroke that left her partially paralyzed.
As I prayed over her, I saw flies and spiders crawling in her bed. In that moment, I realized that I had feared one spider, in a bed, in a room that I would only sleep in for a few nights. This woman was confined to a bed with no ability to stand or move.
This woman’s day, every day, was spent staring at the same adobe walls. She would be in this bed in this dark room for the remainder of her days. As flies and insects flew around us, I wept.
In that moment, God showed me that my perspective was wrong. I was so focused on fear that I failed to see blessings. I realized that despite the intense sadness of the afternoon, there was hope for this lady. The missionaries love this woman. They pray for her, check on her, and make sure that she knows that someone cares.
In that moment, I knew that even in the darkest of night, a small flicker of light can bring hope to the hopeless. You do not have to travel far from home to find someone that is hurting.
You do not have to fly to another country to be a light in a dark world. All it takes is a little time. If you take the time to love someone, to pray for them, and to let them know you care, you can be a flicker of hope.
Jesus, Help us see others as you see them. Open our eyes to the need that is around us. Open our hearts to love the hurting and be a light in the darkness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 03 August 2017.