February 26, 2024

Light Reflectors

There are many references to light in the Bible, including both physical and spiritual light. Spiritual light represents goodness, truth, and life, while darkness represents evil and death. These provide a helpful illustration of Biblical truths.

During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told His listeners, “Ye are the light of the world,” and instructed them, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). One thing to note here is that we are not the source of the Light. We read in John 12:46 where Jesus said, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” Jesus is the Source of the Light. Our church has made that fact our logo, so we often see “Jesus: The Light of the World” on our buildings, publications, and other places.

While we are not the original source, in a sense we are reflectors of the Light. John the Baptist was a good example of this. The Bible says of him, “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” (John 1:8). John was a special individual with a unique position in history, which was to reflect that Light before the Source was revealed. Even after the Source was revealed, John continued to reflect that Light. We want to do so as well. The same charge of reflecting that Light has passed on down through the generations to all of us.

The following verse in the first chapter of John says, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). This states that God will enlighten everyone who comes into the world, and we know that He doesn’t need us to do it. He can certainly enlighten individuals directly. Yet, so often He chooses to use reflections of His Light.

As I contemplated different types of reflections, some of the creative ways that God can use us to bring His Light into the lives of others came to mind. Here are a few examples.

Glimmering streaks

A couple years ago, my wife and I moved to the Oregon City area, and since then we have been blessed to have a seasonal view of the Willamette River. Periodically, I notice reflections on the water that I wasn’t aware of in the past.

For instance, at night I can see a sprinkling of lights on the other side of the river—not many, but a few. I noticed early on that when the lights reflect on the river, they create long, glimmering streaks of light on the water that are quite noticeable. In fact, the actual lights don’t seem to capture my attention as readily as the reflections they create. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for why this happens, but regardless of that, my eyes are frequently drawn to those streaks of light on the river.

The United States has historically been referred to as a Christian nation, but we grieve that our societal values have strayed far from what could be considered godly. That said, most Americans still know something about Jesus. The Bible continues to be the best-selling Book of all time in this country, and statistics indicate that approximately 91% of American households have at least one Bible in the home. The average is thought to be around four Bibles per home. Sadly, too many of those Bibles sit on shelves or in drawers and are never read. Those unused Bibles remind me of the lights across the river from my house. God’s Word is a direct revelation of Himself, yet so many don’t care to open and read it. However, the streaks of reflected light can really grab attention, and that is what we want to do.

It’s been said that we may be the only “Jesus” that some people around us see. There may be people in our circles who have multiple Bibles in their homes but fail to read them. However, when they’re exposed to someone who reflects the Light, that may catch their attention. In particular, when dark times come, they may look back again and again, asking, “Is that reflection still there?” By God’s grace, it’s still there every time. That is the type of reflection we want to be of Christ.

Focused beams

Another type of reflection is a focused beam of light—for example, the type of beam created by a signal mirror that is used for emergencies. Mirrors of this type are generally small and allow someone to create a focused bar of light that they can wave to get attention. Signal mirrors are remarkably effective. People have been rescued from dangerous situations because they were able to draw attention to their location with something as simple as a mirror.

Along the same lines, a few weeks ago I was sitting in the back row of the balcony at church, and my eyes were drawn to three or four flashes of light coming from the platform. It turned out to be light from the chandeliers reflecting off a musician’s tie clasp! A clasp is very small, yet at just the right angle, it sent a bright flash of light that caught my eye. Focused reflection is powerful.

Where we live now, we cannot see the sun as it sinks toward the horizon. Instead, we see a cluster of houses on the southwest face of Mount Scott, about seven miles away from us. The houses are positioned in such a way that as the evening progresses, the setting sun will shine off a window here and there. Two or three will be so bright that they seem like spotlights! They will shine for a while and then start to fade as the angle of the sunlight shifts, and then other windows nearby will begin to shine brightly. Again, that focused reflection catches my attention.

This reminds me of how the Lord sometimes uses us as a focused reflection in someone’s life, to shine the light of His love in a special way. One example of this from years ago is the testimony of Brother Chic Beasley. Prior to his conversion, he evidently was a cantankerous individual, for he later described himself as “a railer and a blasphemer.” He worked at a furniture factory, and one day a young believer started working there too. That young man simply lived a Christian life before his co-workers, but God used him to reflect the Light to Brother Chic in a focused way. God arranges those circumstances; He does the angling and aiming so that our lives will reflect the Light to those who need it. After a period of time, Brother Chic took the young man by the arm and asked, “What church do you belong to?” He replied, “I don’t belong to any church. I’m just a Christian.” God was truly at work, and before long, Brother Chic surrendered his life to the Lord.

In Brother Chic’s case, we know who God used to reflect the Light and who it was directed toward. Often, however, we don’t know those things. For instance, a brother in our congregation testifies how before he was saved, God drew him to the point where he decided he needed to go to church. When he made a phone call to get a ride to church, he accidentally dialed the wrong number, and the person who answered the phone said, “Jesus loves you.” That was a focused reflection at just the right moment! The brother from our congregation and the person who answered the phone probably will not know each other until they meet in eternity. Just think—in Heaven, we too may meet people that we had no idea were impacted by the way we lived for God. When we are walking in obedience to Him, God arranges those moments of focused reflection for His good purposes.

Cumulative glow

We may feel we’re too small and insignificant for God to ever do something great through us, but another important type of illumination is cumulative reflection. This is something we are often exposed to, though we may not think much about it. For example, because my wife and I built our home in a historical area of Oregon City, there were civic ordinances that placed limits on how many windows we could have and how large they could be. Most of our windows ended up being near shade trees, so we have almost no direct sunlight into our house. Consequently, I had assumed that the house would be fairly dark, with little natural light. However, as we were finishing construction, I was pleasantly surprised at how much natural light we do get. Even though there’s little direct sunlight, the sun reflects off trees, walls, and other objects to create an abundance of cumulative reflection that glows into the house.

Another example of this is the tabernacle on our Portland campground. The interior is lit with florescent tube lights, but if you look at the ceiling of the main auditorium, you will see no visible light sources. The light is all reflected off the ceiling, and the building is bathed in light. Each board in the ceiling is insignificant by itself, but all together, they create a glow that illuminates the entire room. Likewise, each of our lives alone may not seem significant in the world, but as part of the Body of Christ, when we all allow God to reflect His love through us, there is a type of cumulative effect. And what a difference it makes! Together, we can have a major impact in neighborhoods, cities, and ultimately the entire world.

Mirror images

Many of us have seen how still, smooth water reflects a reverse image of whatever is around it. Photographers have extensively documented the beauty of this type of scene, and I am blessed to be able to see it frequently because the Willamette River upstream from the falls is somewhat of a reservoir. Sometimes the water is glassy-smooth, and in it we can see images of the hills and terrain from the other side of the river. Of course, when the water is troubled, that image quickly goes away.

As we go through life, we savor the times when the Good Shepherd leads us beside still waters. Yet, we know that the Lord will also allow storms to come our way, and sometimes they can seem overwhelming. He may calm the storm or He may allow it to continue; either way, we know that He can provide peace in the midst of the storm. It is truly incredible when a storm is raging all around us, and we suddenly realize that God has carved out a place of peace for us. I cannot help but think that those looking on can see an image reflected in that place of peace—an image of God. Regardless of what is going on around us, we can be mirrors of Him in a lost and dying world.

Jesus is truly the Light of the world, but God has purposed for each of us to be reflectors of that Light. May we let our lights shine before men in every possible way.

apostolic faith magazine