October 24, 2011
In the Darkness
"In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." John 1:4-5 (NIV 1984)
Slowly I tried to acclimate to my shockingly unfamiliar surroundings. The straw mat I sat on crinkled against the dirt floor of the deteriorating brick building. I was in the community center for a group of refugees from Bangladesh.
If this place is where severely impoverished people escaped to, my American sensibilities couldn't even begin to imagine where they had escaped from.
The smell of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), a mixture of pollution, meals cooked street-side, excrement and trash, permeated the room and filled my nose and thoughts with each new waft. Our missions team and the women we had come to visit sat cross-legged, knees touching, both for the sake of space and intimacy.
Because there were women, there were also children—beautiful dark-eyed, raven- haired children. Their smiles were as full of hope as my own two boys' thousands of miles away.
But the women, beaten down by poverty and the harshness of their lives, were different.
My eyes roamed the room as my heart cried out to Jesus for His redeeming love. Although the faces were beyond beautiful, the eyes set into them were dark with despair and hopelessness.
As I stood before them and spoke, bleak eyes met my own which were full of pleading for them to accept the Hope-Giver. Then I saw her.
One woman's face in a crowd of darkness radiated light. It held a beauty that went beyond the physical. I couldn't wait to find out what God was doing in the bright heart behind that one illuminated face.
When our service was complete, I moved through the crowd toward her and asked, "What was Jesus doing in your heart as I spoke?"
The woman joyfully replied, "I already love Jesus. I was happy to hear you speak of Him."
Oh! I'm sure my face lit with understanding as I heard this woman's story of meeting Jesus in such harsh conditions.
Jesus came as the Light of the world, full of mercy, truth and grace. His life within a believer is so completely transforming that His light chases away darkness and shadows. It was stunning to see the reality of Light in the darkness in the life of one shining woman in a crowd of faces that had not yet met Him.
This past Saturday, October 22, I boarded a plane once again to speak with women in India, covered with support from friends, family and Proverbs 31 Ministries. I went full of His light, simply because I'm His child. I pray as I share the hope that dwells within me, more faces will light up the darkened rooms with an internal luminosity that only belief in Jesus gives.
As children of God, we can all be spreaders of the hope we've been given in Christ. I invite you to pray about your own way to share the light of God's redeeming love—on a missions trip, with a neighbor in crisis or in a lunchtime conversation at your workplace. Oh how I'd love to hear about what God does and join you in praying for hearts to be illuminated with His light.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your light that floods Your children. You've taken us out of darkness and given us a new home in Your light. Let our thankfulness compel us to share The Light with others. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Visit Amy's blog to read about how she prepared for her missions trip to India. She'll be blogging as often as she can while she travels, so be sure to watch for updates and pictures. Will you join us in praying for the women in India that she'll be ministering to?
Please pray for Amy and the team from Encouraging Words. Their hearts' desire is to bring Jesus' light into the darkness!
There are so many ministries that equip others to spread His light. Pray and ask God how you can take part and/or support these ministries.
Am I called to spread His Light where I live, in my neighborhood, workplace or community?
Is God calling me to spread His Light to the nations?
I Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (NIV 1984)
Ephesians 3:19-21, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." (NIV 1984)
© 2011 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 24 October 2011.