I read this quote today:
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out. But when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within."-- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Do you see yourself as a beautiful stained-glass window?
I personally love this imagery, as I love stained-glass windows that tell stories and display such beautiful pictures. Not forgetting old cathedrals that force me to contemplate the splendour and magnitude of our creator. Of course no man-made structure can ever compare to God, but I cannot help but appreciate wonderful masterpieces of design.
How true is it, that it is easy for people to shine when all is well in their life? And then when difficult times come, many fail to shine for they have no light within?
Have you ever known anyone who continued to shine even when enduring such loss or pain? I have.
It is often not until we witness someone undergoing extreme hardship that we see how real their faith is, and I believe this is proven by the scripture:
Romans 5: 3b-4 “knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope”
God will use all of our real experiences for good, if only we let Him.
Scripture says we will share in Christ's sufferings, but this isn't a message always spoken. God does not want to just save us. He wants to save us and transform us into the likeness of His Son Jesus because He has adopted us into His family – this is called sanctification.
Just as Christ suffered, we must be prepared to wage war with our flesh and also suffer in dying to it. As it says in 1 Peter 4:1-3
"Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.”
The more we choose to let go of anything which is coming before God and to die to our own natural nature, the more we will shine the light of Christ.
Sanctification is a process. When we give our lives to God through Jesus, God begins a major restoration project within us. Like a skilled craftsman restoring the stained-glass windows of a magnificent cathedral, The Lord will begin cleaning each dark, stained, dirty piece. He will clean and mend each piece with gentle precision, so that His child will shine the light of Jesus out to the darkened world.
If there is something you need to let go of, I hope I can encourage you to focus upon the One indwelling within you for the source of power to overcome. It doesn't matter where you are in your sanctification, or how long you've been a Christian or struggled, because when we are born-again we all have the same One living within us and He doesn’t play favourites with His kids.
How big is your faith? How much do you trust Him? We only need faith the size of a tiny mustard seed for Him to do a miracle in us.
Sadly Jesus could not perform any miracles in His home town, as their hearts were cold toward Him. Let us not grow cold, rather may He be our passion that we are willing to sacrifice all for. I do not want to be a window that is so darkened it can only reflect light; I want to be a beautiful stained-glass window that shines out because of the warm light inside.
Let me leave you with this contemplative song Blessings by Laura Story: