This month my husband and I took a five-day reprieve from winter in New England, and traveled to sunny, warm Texas. At least that’s what we thought we were headed for, sunny and WARM. It had been warm there the week before, getting up into the 80’s, so we were excited about getting an early taste of summer! But that was not to be.
We flew in with our tent and camping supplies ready to go for a four-day, three-night canoe trip down the Neches River. The first morning we got up, it was 45 degrees F. It took me awhile that day before I could feel my toes! The sun was out, but it was still only 60 degrees and windy by noon, as we paddled down the river all bundled up. Here I am, with my handsome navigator husband. I’ve only got three places uncovered–my face, and my fingers (and they were only exposed so that I could paddle!).
It was 3:00 in the afternoon before sunscreen even crossed our minds. By then, it was too late! I ended up with a nice collection of facial hives that lasted for almost a week after we got home. Now I have a tan chin!
Our second morning paddling down the river began after sunscreen application!! As we paddled along that sunny day (which got all the way up to 63 degrees), I was enjoying the scenery and the sunlight reflecting off the water. As you can see from my first picture above, that water is nowhere near clear. It was so muddy that it nearly clogged up our water filter before we finished our trip! But still the sun reflected off the surface. Perhaps that doubled my sunburn the day before–I was getting sun rays from above, as well as those reflected from the river below! Here’s another picture of the beautiful sun, taken from the shore on one of our snack breaks that day.
Pretty bright in spite of the muddy water beneath, yes?
Our lives can be pretty muddy and dirty, too. Sometimes we think we need to be clear and pristine before we can ever share the light and love of Jesus with anyone else. The bad news is that we will never be completely clear and pristine here on this earth! We all fall, and we all fail. But still, Jesus told us to go and tell. What was He thinking? Doesn’t He know what messes we are? Well, actually, He does. He knows all about you, what you do, what you say, what you think, how you feel (read Psalm 139:1-18 for starters)…and yet He loves you and gives you this charge to share, to reflect Him on this earth. Just as that muddy water shone more light on my face, our imperfect lives can still reflect Jesus in this crazy, messed-up world we live in.
The good news is that we can be progressively cleaner and clearer as we spend more time with Jesus in prayer and in His Word, letting Him filter the junk out of our hearts and lives.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2 NLT).
Don’t wait until you’re completely perfect, because by then it will be too late! Reflect His love to those around you today. And,
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
You have been showered with grace and mercy, and have been given a new hope. Pass it on!