Lights Up!

By Loreen Sarmiento |February 17,2018 - 10:42 PM

One night, my siblings and I were having a video call.

We were spread out – Australia, Toledo Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Mactan Cebu and Cebu City.

Noticeable was my sister’s room.

It was dark.

We told her to put on the lights.

She said there was already light.

But she appears dark in the video, we said. She insisted that the lighting in the room is ok.

I told the group she may have mood lights in her room and it didn’t register well on video.

Reality is, not every part of the house can be bright and airy.

If you want to, there are many easy tricks to lighten it.

The designers would suggest to use high-gloss paint finish to catch the light, mirrors in the room or furniture upholstered in light colors.

The world is one big room that can be a dark place in which the techniques to lighten it up is a big challenge, sometimes we think it’s nearly impossible.

The news is full of dark reports — deaths, corruption, terrorist attacks, hunger, sickness, unrest, etc. All spell uncertainty.

Our country for example still looks back at the painful past of a dictator.

The anger continues to carry over to his descendants today.

The current situation from the government down to the streets and transport system — all are filled with pressures. Because of the past and the present, we are anxious for our children’s future. What kind of society will they live in?

Our heart can also be one dark room if it’s filled with anger, envy, bitterness, discontentment and fear.

How can you lighten up your disposition when your 11 year old child suddenly dies reportedly because of a vaccine?

How can you be happy when you can’t find work and your family is just eating one meal a day?

Or you may be employed but life is still dark because you don’t know how to live with your monthly salary when jeepney and taxi fares and the price of basic commodities are up?

Brighten up life with joy.

The Bible exhorts us to “Be joyful always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). That’s tough. How can we be happy when life seems to give us trouble always.

But to be joyful is not about happy feelings. It is being able to still accept and endure hardship and suffering with delight. This requires supernatural strength because our human strength can just give up easily.

This supernatural strength is in Christ St. Paul, who suffered many times during his ministry, knew what this is all about when he wrote “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Christ made Paul strong. And so we also need His grace … always … to be strong enough to retain joy in our hearts … always.

Brighten up the dark with peace.

Huh? Can we still find peace in the midst of stress ? The answer is yes. But peace will not come naturally. The key word is “find”. In Psalm 34:14, God reminds us that we have to find peace and pursue it.

Is it finding time to relax, take a vacation or just don’t think about the stress? Maybe. But these are temporary fixes. Later on, our hearts will be troubled again.

But the peace that Christ offers is lasting. It brings comfort and freedom.

Jesus calmed the storm on the lake in the gospel of St. Matthew. His disciples were filled with fear and were crying out to Him to save them. Jesus questioned their lack of faith.

He was already with them.

Why can’t they be comforted with that? Then Jesus simply rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm.

Obviously, Jesus showed authority over nature. He has the same authority over all our fears , doubts and suffering.

His peace will overcome all our struggles.

It only takes Jesus to brighten our dark days by simply declaring, “Peace! Be still!”

With joy and peace, add hope. And things will be brighter.

It may be a trite statement but “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” is real. There is no such thing as endless tunnel. Somewhere, it will end and there will be light.

Two lessons to learn:

First, during the dark days of our life, remind ourselves that in the cycle of seasons, it is spring after winter and after the sun sets, it will rise again.

Second, be joyful, seek to have peace and be hopeful. These should bring out the light out of our dark world.

“Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” (Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952)

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