May 8, 2009
A Beacon of Light
“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18,19 NIV).
Friend To Friend
I have lived in North Carolina all my life and love its sandy beaches and irregular coast. Dotting the ragged shoreline, stand seven stately beacons of light. These majestic, sweeping lighthouse lanterns have flashed warnings and guided seafarers throughout the years. They light the way at Bald Head Island, Ocracoke Island, Cape Lookout, Bodie Island, Currituck Beach, Oak Island, and Cape Hatteras. Each of these sentinels serves as a guardian of the deep, flashing its warning in the night sky. Their distinctive designs of black and white diamonds, stripes or checks tower skyward some 200 feet, serving as landmarks for navigation. To the mariner, the lighthouse is a symbol of integrity, constancy, reliability and aid.
A mother is much like a stately lighthouse. She has a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Her walls of faith are constructed to withstand the storms of life, and her primary function is to house the light of Christ. This mother is an immovable constant in her child’s life, a landmark along life’s journey and a guiding light that points her children to the safe harbor of home and eventually out to sea.
If ever there was a mother who was a beacon, it was Monica, the mother of Augustine. From the time he was born, she prayed he would surrender his life to Christ and impact the world for God. However, Augustine’s pagan father was just as zealous to lead young Augustine into sin as his mother was to introduce him to Christ.
Augustine himself said that from the time he was born, he was “sealed with Christ’s cross.” However, he sidestepped God with the determination of a prize fighter.
In his early heathen years, Augustine attended the University of Carthage and received an excellent education in grammar, logic, literature, language, and oratory. During his years of higher education, he also experienced heavy doses of corruption, brothels, and friends in low places.
He graduated into a life style of immorality, alcohol, and sexual promiscuity, living with one woman for 15 years and fathering a child with her. However, they never married. Eventually, he joined what could be compared to a modern day cult.
Even though Augustine was living in apparent destitution of the soul, his mother continued to pray for him. Her light burned brightly with rays of hope, forever pointing him back to Christ. Twice a day she went to church and cried out to the Lord on Augustine’s behalf.
One day Monica approached a bishop who was bold in confronting others about their relationship to God and their need for salvation. She begged him to talk to Augustine, but he refused, saying that her son was unteachable. Still, as the bishop walked away, he replied,” It cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.”
Shortly afterwards, Monica sensed that Augustine was planning to leave Carthage on a ship to Rome. When she confronted him at the dock, he denied it and said that he was only there to bid a friend farewell. However, the next morning, she discovered that her son had lied. He had set sail for Rome and escaped her influence – or so it seemed. What she did not realize was that as her wayward son turned his eyes toward the shores of home, he pictured in his mind’s eye that faithful beacon, pointing him to the safety of Christ’s harbor and the one true God.
Monica’s prayers followed her son to Rome and God continued to put people in his path to point him to the Savior. One day, while Augustine read one of Paul’s letters in the Bible, the Holy Spirit touched his heart and opened his eyes. He knew those letters were written to him, and he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
Augustine went on to write more than 100 books and 1000 sermons. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes him as “the dominant personality of the Western Church of his time…generally recognized as having been the greatest thinker of Christian antiquity.” His books, City of God and Confessions are classics still read today. Sixteen hundred years later, the church still reaps the benefits of this praying mother.
Shortly after Augustine became a Christian; his mother said that she felt her work on earth was accomplished. One week later, at the age of 56, she died.
In one of his prayers, Augustine wrote the following about his mother, “She poured out her tears and her prayers all the more fervently, begging you [God] to speed your help and give me light in my darkness.” Another entry reads, “My mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son. For in her faith and in the spirit which she had from you she looked down on me as dead. You heard her and did not despise the tears which streamed down and watered the earth in every place where she bowed her head in prayer. “
Monica remained a beacon of light, a visible sentinel pointing her son to the safe harbor of Christ’s arms. Augustine, indebted to his mother for unceasing intercession, he rose up and called her blessed.
Her love is like an island
In life’s ocean, vast and wide.
A peaceful quiet shelter
From the wind and rain, and tide.
‘Tis bound on the north by Hope,
By Patience on the west.
By tender Counsel on the south,
And on the east by rest.
Above is like a beacon light,
Shining Faith, and Truth, and Prayer;
And through the changing scenes of life,
I find a haven there.
Dear Lord, there have been many people who have prayed for me all through my life. Help me to be a shining beacon of prayer to those in my care. Help me never to give up!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What does Monica’s story tell you about the importance of persistence in prayer?
Is there someone that you have been praying for many years?
What does Jesus tell us about persistency in prayer? Luke 18:1-8
More From The Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from Sharon’s book, Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids. If you would like to learn the seven principles of great mothering, then this is the book for you. It is filled with inspiration and godly wisdom for incredible role. Motherhood – one of the most difficult jobs we will ever love!
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how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Originally published Friday, 08 May 2009.