His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. (Revelation 1:16)

“Ugh! I wish you’d go away!” 

Some people yell at the TV, shouting warnings to characters in a movie or instructions to sports players. Me, I yell at the sun, pretty much every time I drive. 

This star’s brightness can spark some of my darkest moments. You see, my eye is permanently damaged as a result of a medical condition, which was triggered by an existing (controllable) condition, which I wasn’t aware of until it was too late. Medications ensued, treatments were endured, adjustments made but, bottom line? Brightness hurts.  

As much as I wish to avoid this new normal, and as ridiculous as it sounds demanding the sun disappear, imagine what would happen if it did. We would all die! According to NASA’s The Sun and Us, “Without the Sun’s heat and light, the Earth would be a lifeless ball of ice-coated rock. The Sun warms our seas, stirs our atmosphere, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing green plants that provide the food and oxygen for life on Earth.”

It’s incredible to imagine our Creator prepared all this, in advance. Not only the world, but each person in it, sent for a specific time, place and purpose, including Emmanuel. Revelation 1:14-16 gives a vivid description of the Son ending with “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Wow, if it feels bright now, what will it be like to one day stand before the Almighty? That baby-in-a-manger Jesus is now pictured as the ruling and reigning Conqueror! And He’s engaging the enemy for the sake of His family, not willing that any should perish.

In the darkness of despair, it’s easy to question God: “Why is this happening? Where are you? Do you even care?” But listen to the answers given in scripture by God Himself:

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)

“…and be sure of this – that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Instead of wishing troubles away, why not look to the Son who can warm the heart, light the path, stir the soul, generate creativity and ignite passion for life? There is purpose in our pain. And even if I have to squint, it’s become increasingly clear – the more I focus on Jesus, the less circumstances hurt, the brighter joy becomes and the easier I progress. 

Friends, Jesus has scars too. And they’re beautiful reminders that we’re never without hope. Not only is there light at the end of the tunnel but within, and all around us, because of the Son, who is our strength.

SHINE, always