Night Lights

Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | 2 Comments »

If you have kids who are afraid of the dark or have ever been yourself, you know it’s no small matter. There’s just something that happens in the imagination when the lights go out.

Snakes hiss through the fan, ghosts play behind the curtains in the breeze. Any cold air seeping under the blanket becomes a slimy tentacle determined to pull you under, every flickering shadow a night terror.

There is one thing though that can extinguish even the most rampant imagination; the night light.

As the dad of six kids ranging from in-the-womb to eleven, I see these little wonders calm a child in a way I never can. Why? Because no matter how many words I use to tell them that the doors are locked and assure them of their safety, it’s nothing compared to the fear that five-watt light vanquishes on a nightly basis.

I think the world is like that child.

We walk around in this world and it’s full of darkness, and it makes us afraid. Storms blow and beat us to our knees. The pressures of life seep in and pull us down until we’re drowning in despair. Circumstances in life get magnified by that darkness to appear to be more than we can bear. All the while the boogie man is at the door.

Sometimes I feel that I have to be some great and powerful light, that I have to do some marvelous Christian work in order to reach the world with God’s love. But it’s just not true. Because even a faith as tiny as a night light can have an incredible effect.

God walks across the room and plugs a little light into the wall. His love and power flow through us, no matter how small that seems. And he uses that humble light to illuminate everything around us so the world doesn’t have to be afraid. Their hissing snakes fade into soothing white noise. Their curtain ghosts are transformed into a barricade protecting them from the outside distractions. The cool air seeping into their blankets a refreshing wind that relieves them of heat and exhaustion. The looming shadows and night terrors wilt into play things that instead are used for their good.

Yes, we are to be like a night light to the world, giving his love to others like a beacon that extinguishes their darkness. And it doesn’t take much light to fill a room. A simple five-watt night light will do just fine.

And that gives me hope.


How Tall Will A Tree Grow?

Posted: December 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Spirituality | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

At first glance, the question appears unanswerable. There are too many variables, right? A definite answer across the board seems elusive, but it can be answered.

Whether the tree’s a gargantuan redwood or a Lilliputian size dwarf willow, the answer is the same; a tree will grow as tall as it can.

You may be thinking, “What a cop-out, Mooney,” but hear me out.

Regardless of the breed, each seed has the potential to grow as tall and fruitful as its species will allow. Even if you compare specific species they still grow to different heights depending on a number of factors like soil, temperature, and precipitation.

If the tree is devoid of essential nutrients or exposed to harsh elements its growth will be stunted, but if given a healthy environment it’s free to grow to its fullest potential.

We’re like that.

Each one of us is different, with our own unique personalities and quirks. Each of us has a different level of talent and potential. In order to become what God has intended for us, we have to create an environment that fosters that growth. This includes praying and reading the Bible, not as a matter of obligation but with a desire to know God. It means excluding activities and relationships that aren’t beneficial to this relationship.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.  Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.  For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.