Ben Walther's song "A Light to the Nations" inspires us to consider an important question: What LIGHT do I have to bring forth? For me the answer is simple: While I wish to bear a torch; more often it is a matchstick.
In order to go forth, as Ben's song encourages, "to be a sign of God's love and hope to others" . . . first I have to allow myself to be a recipient of these great gifts. . . .
The older I get the more I have come to realize how I want to be seen in this world, and who I really am, are vastly different. As I strive to be a light illuminating a way to Christ, I find that I spend more time shining that light on myself. I am hyper-focused on myself, usually in my all too often self-absorbed moments of anxiety. Although I want my faith to be so powerful that nothing can shake the hope I have in Jesus; that is not often the case. I repeat the words from Mark's gospel, "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief," more often than I can count. It is perplexing that someone with so much faith as to choose a career sharing the love and hope of God can still be this full of worry and fear. It is hard to be a light to all nations when you are hogging the light all for your own needs.
[tweet "It's hard to be a light to all nations when you're hogging the spotlight. By @reconciledtoyou"]
What Is My Greatest Fear?
Dying. I'm probably not alone in that. Some of it is a fear of what is to come; but mostly it is what I will leave behind. Social Media has certainly NOT helped my anxiety issues - with every cancer story or other sickness prayer request - comes an interior struggle not to become obsessed with the possibility of being next to succumb to that illness. The selfishness and arrogance that I recognize in this battle truly embarrasses me. This week was one of the many times when a minor health issue -fairly sure I over taxed my body with steroids and vitamin A&D from hand lotions. **FYI** there are good reasons for dosage and usage information on medications. These symptoms sent me spinning into full blown panic attacks; and kicked off a barrage of inward 'all about me' prayers that often accompany these episodes.
This morning in Mass, as Ben's song was wafting through my thoughts, I had the most interesting inspiration. How good the demons are at keeping me from being that light God calls me to be. They don't need to do much; I am all too easily nudged into these discouraging thought spirals which keep me very well occupied for most of the day (week, month, etc). It is hard to control my mind not to think the worse; because the worse happens! Why would I be spared when others are not; there are so many stories of people fine one day and gone soon after. **For this reflection - I will not go into why this should not frighten me especially when there is great peace in contemplating that death brings me to Christ, and therefore is a reward and not a punishment. However, the fear is not necessarily where I am going; but what I will leave behind. One strange pang or ache ... and my anxieties are off and running!
The Fear is Real
The Fear is Real but the HOPE God offers is way MORE REAL . . . Anxiety is an illness; one I have fought with and without medication for most of my life. Someday I may have to fight cancer, or one of the million of other diseases I live in fear of - but right now I am fairly sure WORRY is the disease I am called to fight. The one that steals my hope; and makes me quickly forget the love God has for me. "The world," as Ben reminds me, "needs to know Your might!"
Let's take a moment . . . to bring our fears, worries and illnesses to Christ . . . as we worship together with Ben Walther's song:
- Honesty of who I really am - an anxious, fearful, God loving woman.
- The knowledge that LIFE is filled with unknowns but GOD is not one of them.
- A desire to share what God IS DOING in my life. He is not distant!
- The realization that despite thinking I had to have it all figured out before I could come to God or bring his light and love to others could not have been further from the truth. God wants me exactly where I am; and who I am - fears and all.
- My daily attempts (even when feeble) to love God with all of my mind, body and soul; and to love my neighbor as myself.
- A willingness to be reborn every day in the light of Christ; so that I may be that light to others!
Scripture Seeking . . .
A Light to the Nations inspired a deeper look at the following Scriptures. I encourage you to click through the links; read the scripture and record how they inspire you to be a light to the nations (even if that nation is as small as your family or local community). You can do so on your own or share in the comments section below. PLEASE NOTE: I am giving you the links instead of the Scriptures in case your heart is moved by the spirit to delve deeper into the text around any of these verses:
Whether a torch or a matchstick, what the LORD has given me to share is mine to share. There will always be battles in this world; my job is to lean on Him and allow his grace to strengthen me to conquer in those struggles. It is in those very moments when we feel the weakest that God can use us to bring his love and hope to others. His Grace is Sufficient! Instead of waiting for some miraculous moment when we've pulled it altogether (which btw will never happen this side of Heaven), God calls us to shine NOW -- right where we are, and exactly as He created us to be. The world truly needs to know His might and what better way to show that then in the messy joy of our everyday ordinary lives!
So fortified in the truth, and moved by scripture and music let us go be . . . A Light to all Nations!
FOR More of Ben Walther's amazing music visit: Ben Walther Music
Copyright 2017 Allison Gingras
About the Author
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.