I was visiting with a friend when she shared with me that her bird went through a season of not singing. She said she wasn’t certain the cause or if there were even multiple causes, but she had concluded that he needed to spend more time in the light each day.
Her bird is really pretty – or I suppose I should say handsome given that he’s male. His vibrant yellow appearance compliments his outgoing nature. He usually really likes to participate in conversations when other people are around, so much so that he can get loud enough for her to cover his cage to get him to be quiet. It is uncharacteristic for him to go days or weeks without singing.
We Need More Light
When she shared her theory of “Birdie” needing more light each day, I was thinking, there’s a spiritual truth here. We need the Light. The Light gives us joy despite circumstances and a voice to dispel the darkness. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Sunlight helps regulate our mood and sleep cycles. In the world of psychotherapy, artificial sources of light are used to imitate sunlight and treat depression among other diagnoses. Exposure to sunlight communicates to our bodies to create the appropriate production of hormones. Without light, plants cannot grow. Without Jesus, The Light, our spirits also experience an inability to grow and thrive.
Adjust Your Focus
Part of what Mark and I do is to teach on spiritual warfare. We often caution people to protect their focus. It’s easy to see darkness and become fearful or have your joy snuffed out. (We know this is so because we are required to live out lessons before we can teach them to others.) When dealing with spiritual darkness, we need to focus on bring the Light of Jesus into the situation, not on the oppression of the darkness.
Having joy despite the circumstances and getting exposed to enough Light is the only way we are still singing. It doesn’t make earthly sense to be able to praise in a place of brokenness, dependence, or the unknown. We have found that when we choose to praise despite our emotions, we can see the Light better. Not only can we see the Light better, but we can feel the healing and encouragement the Light of the World offers us.
Light in the Darkness
Each of us have gone through seasons that were difficult. I probably relate to “Birdie” differently than you, but we each have our dark seasons.
I recall a time when I was elated to report to someone that I had actually felt the urge to sit at the piano and pour out my heart in song and instrumental worship, which I hadn’t done in several years. My focus had shifted to the darkness, even though the Light was still present.
We had come through a time in ministry when it seemed as if no one wanted anything to do with us. We had lost our ministry, our church family, our friends, and family life was pretty bleak.
Eventually, the desire for a deeper relationship with the Lord increased, crowding out the hurt and disappointment of our past. I was able to sing and engage in creativity again. Then my song gained strength and joy. I was going to need that in the future. Of course, I didn’t recognize it at the time. I was simply reveling in the ability to enjoy music again.
Focused on the Light
Fast-forward several years. We had just sold our home. It was spacious and decorated to our preferences. It was the only house our three kids remember growing up in. Selling our home didn’t come with the promise of moving into another one. In fact, at this point in our lives, Mark and I had committed to going into full-time ministry without the benefit of assured income.
Eventually, we were able to purchase a small place, but only after God took us through some lessons. We learned that He would be faithful, and that He was THE Provider. We held on to this when we were homeless. We held on to it when a business deal went south. We held on to it when He asked us to surrender the remaining finances in our bank account. The difference from the first time we went through the dark valley to this time was that we knew to look for the Light rather than accept the illusion of complete darkness.
We still hold onto His unchanging, never failing character. Now, we find it easier to sing in the face of the darkness, because we know that God is our Refuge. He is our Defender and Victor. He is the Light. We can sing, because we are looking for the Light each step of the way.
Are you living in the light or wandering in the dark? Regardless of the circumstances of life, you can have joy in the Light of the World.
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