by Dianne Neal Matthews
As soon as I stepped on the porch of the cute little antiques shop in New Braunfels, Texas, it caught my eye. The gold vintage floor candelabra held only one candle, and what a pathetic candle it was. At some point, heat had softened it so much that it bent completely downward instead of standing straight up. I stared at the curious sight for several minutes thinking, Sometimes I feel just like that.
Jesus tells us to let our light shine in front of others so they’ll see our good deeds and give glory to our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16). I used to think that in order to shine for Jesus, I had to get my act together. To play the role of a strong believer, doing the right things and saying the right words. Showing others how spiritually strong I was. Never struggling with doubts and fears. But on some days, I felt too weak and pathetic to shine.
I’ve changed my thinking on what it means to shine for Jesus. Let’s face it, life gets hard for all of us. When other people see us bowed down by troubles or disappointments, yet still clinging to our faith in the goodness of God, trusting Him to work everything out for good, that’s the perfect backdrop to highlight the Light of the World. We shine more brightly when we’re honest about our dark times of failure, uncertainty, and weariness than when we try to project an image of perfect strength and unwavering faith.
I’ve decided that misshapen candle wasn’t pathetic after all. It was real and honest and transparent about the experience it had been through. It was still attached to the candelabra—the only candle left there. It still had a wick and plenty of wax to burn brightly. And the mental image of that candle reminds me that even on my worst days, I can still shine for Him anyway.
Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers’ conferences. To learn more, visit www.DianneNealMatthews.com or connect with Dianne through Facebook or Twitter.