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Lights Out!

August 29, 2013

This morning I was awakened with a loud ‘bang!’ that seemed to echo from outside. Raising my head to see what time it was I immediately noticed two things; the first was that the night light in the bathroom was not lit and second, neither was the alarm clock. The darkness that enfolded our bedroom was nearly complete and other than being able to vaguely discern the furniture in our bedroom, I couldn’t see anything. So, the power is out; now what?

I got up and put my pajamas on, and then s-l-o-w-l-y made my way across the floor and out into the hallway. Entering the front room, I picked up my phone and turned it on and saw that it was 5:15; my ‘usual’ wake up time, so I chose to stay up. Getting a bottle of cold water out of the refrigerator (and quickly closing the door to keep things in there cool), I walked back into the front room and then remembered that without electricity our computers were nice door stops, but otherwise useless. No light to read by, no power for the computers; I couldn’t read, all I could do is sit there and wait for the power to come back on (and of course, pet the cats as they came by to seemingly ask me why I didn’t turn the lights on as I usually did).

Without electric power, our lives are rather limited. We have a fireplace, so presumably I could do some cooking; no firewood though, so other than chopping up some furniture, that was not going to happen either. Yes, technology is our friend, but sometimes the ‘r’ is missing; this morning without electricity was definitely proving that technology is a fiend without the requisite power.

Then I began thinking about how this applies to life in general, particularly our spiritual lives. Without a power from outside of ourselves, we are as dark and bereft of usefulness as all the technological gadgets in our home. Life, real life, is dependent upon a Power from outside of ourselves; unless we are connected to that external power source, we can (and often do) operate for a time, but we quickly deplete what power there is in our ‘batteries’ and fall flat. We are useless to God and each other without His power, His enabling us to do that which He has called us to do whether in a vocation apart from ministry or in acts of ministry (often times these can be the same, not necessarily meaning working as a minister, but that the work you do every day in an office or wherever can present opportunities to minister to others through acts of kindness. Without His power working in and through me though, anything I do will usually be self-centered and fruitless for any long-term good.

A Duke Energy truck came down our street and parked; the guys in the truck seemed to be doing something, but after about 35 minutes they left with no apparent change in our situation. I’ll be honest, I wondered what (if anything) they’d been doing to just sit there and then leave without turning the lights on. About ten minutes after that though, the electric clocks began flashing “12:00” and so they had repaired the transformer in our neighborhood that had blown, then gone to another location to reconnect us to the grid.

In a similar vein, we often see God moving, but nothing seems to change, and we wonder if He forgot about us. Death, sickness or injury affect us and we look for the comfort of His presence, but sometimes that seems distant and unobtainable. We pray for relief or help and nothing happens; we wonder does God care? As with the Duke Energy truck, He did ‘show up’ some time ago and repaired the breech between God and man caused by our progenitor, but tragedy and strife continue. Nothing has changed and we have to wonder if His visit 2,000 years ago was meant to accomplish anything other than letting us know He is still interested. As with the Duke Energy truck, Jesus came into the world to repair that breach, but the restoration we all long for is yet to come. That day will come, until then we look for His reappearing in order to forever change the world and all who live in it. Then and only then will the lights really come on to never go out again.

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