“…Try to shine as lights among the people of this world…” Philippians 2:15 CEV
There’s a huge, stately, old, white lighthouse on tropical Gasparilla Island in Florida. It stands on the sandy beach straight and tall. It’s bigger than life. I take many photos of it; it’s just so gorgeous. Its awesome beauty is in its stateliness, like a fine, beautiful statue; though it’s actually worn and rustic. The bright, blue sky is an ever-changing backdrop for my photos, but the lighthouse doesn’t change. Its uniqueness in the landscape always dominates the picture.
I think about that lighthouse and realize I’ve never had to use its life-saving light in a storm. Even though it has the potential to help me, standing right there in plain view. Very majestic. It’s really just an icon, a symbol to me of a safe harbor or sanctuary. It’s a safe haven I can cling to. Something I can trust.
What draws us to a lighthouse? Usually it’s found in the most beautiful settings; perhaps a rugged coastline or sandy beach with palm trees swaying in the breeze. With its remote and extreme location, sunsets and sunrises can often be enjoyed in complete solitude. The walkway encircling the lantern room atop the lighthouse offers a perfect viewing platform for the spectacular setting. Lighthouses are built to endure the ravages of the elements; they’re strong, sturdy monuments even in their exposed locations.
The giant lens of the lighthouse rotates sending beams of light extending for miles, like the spokes of a giant wheel. It’s breathtaking; like thousands of tiny prisms. They’re simply beautiful structures that offer a true service. Heroic and remarkable rescues are possible through man’s devotion to tending the light, polishing the lens, or sounding the fog signal. They warn of danger or mark safe passage into the welcoming harbor through the light, which is a beacon of safety and security.
“Perhaps it is because of this, and the imagery, that lighthouses seem to appeal to the spiritual side of people, symbolizing He who is ‘the light that shineth in darkness’ and reminding us that we are also to let our ‘lights so shine’.” (Kraig, Lighthousefriends.com).
I don’t understand how a lighthouse works, or know all the people it has saved from death with it’s penetrating light. I can zoom in with my camera lens to try to get a closer look. Or, read about its history to learn more about its function and use, but until I actually trust its light, I’m not going to know how powerfully it can help me in a storm.
I believe people see Jesus as I see that lighthouse. He’s right in plain view, standing straight and tall, like a statue. Majestic and beautiful, but with His worn and rustic Cross. He’s an icon, a symbol of safety. He’s bigger than life. We know our circumstances constantly change around us, but He’s always right there never changing. We love photos of Him. We love His light. We read about His history in His book, The Bible; we pray to get closer to Him. But until we actually trust His light, we aren’t going to see how powerfully He can help us in a storm.
Church, light the way, go up to the top of the lighthouse and shine! People need to get to that lighthouse; they need to utilize that light. They need to be warned of danger; and have their safe harbor marked by the light. Let them see your footprints in the sand. They need to know they can trust that light. Shine the lamp on their walkway. Carry His lantern wherever you go. If you don’t tell them, then Jesus is just a photo they carry with them.
What causes people to turn to a lighthouse? They need to be rescued. Even if they live in a beautiful beach setting, at times it seems like there’s a dangerously rugged coastline, instead of a sandy beach. Their location away from the Father may seem remote and extreme. Our relationship with Jesus is built to endure. His lighthouse offers solitude with a perfect viewing platform for all our sunrises and sunsets. He’s the monument that stands firm and unchanging in the exposed locations. His lens rotates in a beam of light that extends forever. A life lived for Christ is breathtaking. He offers us eternal life with Him, the Light of the World.
Allow Him to make a remarkable rescue. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105, KJV) Church, devote yourself to tending the light, polishing the lens, and sounding the alarm. Warn of danger, mark safe harbor, and welcome those lost in the storm home, where they’ll be safe and secure.
Hurricane Charley hit Gasparilla Island beaches and blew over the wooden protective structures that cover the picnic tables and provide shade for beach-goers. The lighthouse is still standing. Storms hit, but the lighthouse is still there. Look to the lighthouse; follow the light, and be safe from the storm. “Our Lord and God, you are my lamp. You turn darkness to light.” II Samuel 22:29 NIV “Your Word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.” Psalm 119:105 NIV