Looking back over the year 2013, I must admit it was a year of seemingly relentless difficulty for me. Perhaps you can relate? As soon as one trial had passed, another would quickly follow. And often there were multiple trials all at once which became an almost insurmountable struggle. One day, in a moment of weakness, I was praying and literally crying out to the Lord to ease my load, feeling as though the darkness might soon completely overtake me. I longed for a reprieve from the seemingly endless barrage of attacks from the enemy- a breakthrough! Then, softly and intently, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Angela, stand in the ‘bright spot’.”
I cried out in desperation, while in the middle of a particularly bad flare, “What bright spot, Lord?”, overwhelmed and struggling at the time to see the tiniest glimmer of light outside His immediate presence. Surely, in the midst of all the trials- a year-long whirlwind of family chaos and turbulence, the effects of chronic pain and fatigue, months of difficulty getting resettled after a necessary summer move, nearly three months of fighting not to succumb to depression, and not to mention the current ice storm with thirty-two hours of no power, no heat, and no running water at home- I thought surely, there wasn’t a beam large enough for me to stand in. “You’re all the light I see, Lord,” I said. “Where would You have me stand?”
And then, like a vision, it came to me. Though the circumstances that weighed so heavily upon me were like walking through dark shadows that seemed to engulf me, I began to imagine beautiful rays of light as they broke through the clouds of darkness. In those rays of light- the “bright spot”- there was hope, warmth, even joy, and renewal. So I asked the Lord, “Father, where is the bright spot in all of this?” I longed to see it and to feel it’s warmth flood my spirit. Then I felt Him saying to me, “Look around you to those things where I am and you will find it.”
It was a week before our Christmas Musical at church and I so wanted to sing for the Lord and bring glory to His name. Singing is one of the things that brings me joy and gives me inspiration. I so enjoy singing with our Praise Team and worshipping our Lord together. And for nearly three months, I had longed to once again find the ability to connect with the passion and inspiration I knew God had placed within me for His ministry. So, in that moment, and for that very time in my life, singing in the Christmas Musical became my “bright spot”. For a little while, I was able to bask in the rays of light from my “bright spot” and felt God’s warmth pour over me as His joy began to renew my spirit. Making an effort to attend weekly practices and listening to my performance CD at home and in the car, I had been looking forward to singing with my sweet Sisters on the Praise Team and to the program God had inspired our Music Minister to lead. But my basking wouldn’t last long. The next morning I awoke with a scratchy throat. And, by the following morning, it had turned into the worst sore throat I could ever remember having. This time the Holy Spirit led me in a different way. But I’m certain it was His direction which prompted me to call and make an appointment with my doctor, something I usually don’t immediately do. A visit to the doctor is certainly not one of my favorite things! But this time was different- I knew I needed to get to be seen as soon as possible and suspected it was strep. Sure enough, the test confirmed I had strep throat!
It seemed my “bright spot” had vanished. But I soon discovered it had only moved. Often in challenging circumstances, the Lord’s desire is to inspire our faith to grow as we continue to trust Him and follow His leading. So I prayed for His strength and the ability to trust faithfully and to keep my focus on Him, instead of on my circumstances. The circumstances surrounding me were still very difficult. That had not changed. But just as He always had, by His mercy, grace, and love, the Lord brought me through. Each day, as I followed my doctor’s instructions, took my medication, and placed everything in God’s hands, I began to improve. Slowly, I began to practice using my singing voice a little at a time and was soon able to sing again! More importantly, God helped me realize that His gift of inspiration doesn’t always come from within. Sometimes His desire is that we rest in Him for a while and be carried by and become part of the inspiration He bestows to others. I’m continuing to learn, when the dark clouds of gloom and uncertainty loom over me, I only need to ask the Lord to help me look for the “bright spot” and to stand in it!
No matter how dark the clouds looming overhead or the shadows surrounding you, there is always a bright spot- a place where God says, “I am”. It may be uniquely different, depending on your circumstances. Where is your “bright spot” today? Is it the love in your children’s faces? Is it spending time with your grandchildren, lending them your love and guidance? Is it something God has gifted you to do that brings you joy? Perhaps it’s having lunch with a friend, or a phone call to a loved one. Maybe it’s giving of your time and talents to minister to others. Or it’s spending time studying or teaching God’s Word. Maybe it’s a walk in the park or a drive through the country, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Look for your “bright spot” today. Stand in it! And the Lord will give you warmth, hope, His unspeakable joy…and He will renew your spirit!
John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (HCSB)
Standing in the Bright Spot,