I've lost count of how many times I've watched "The Freedom Writers" DVD as I use it in my groups and see it twice every term. That has been for a whole lot of years now!
It never ceases to impact me significantly, and remind me that when our focus changes, the story of our life takes on a whole new aspect. In the film Meib Gies, who hid Ann Frank and her family from the Nazis during the Second World War, speaks of what she did as simply doing 'the right thing'. She says that each of us, whatever our place in life, "can turn on a small light in a dark room".
It challenges us to ask God what dark room He wants to shine His light into through us. The place He knows it is needed most. But most of all, it challenges us to hold that focus every day of our lives, wherever we find ourselves in that particular day.
Whether in our work place, or on our knees, as we turn our hearts towards God He is able to shine through us. Many are waiting for the glorious moment and the great call, but He is waiting for the obedient heart, open eyes and ears, to do the simple thing that will make a difference. It brings a childlike wonder at what God can do, and each day becomes a treasure box in which we collect His surprises.
This week has been full of lovely things, but a couple stand out quite starkly. Last week in one of the groups I noticed a young woman with her face practically on the paper as she wrote. This week she was given some magnifying glasses from the chemist with cute frames and wore them for the whole group, this time writing at a normal distance from the paper - she was so joyful. Another woman wrote about 20 pages in her journal about her life and wanted to share it. The story breaks your heart, but her new determination to move forward and make a great life for she and her daughter is driven by her own terrible childhood. She has begun to take solid steps in that direction and feels empowered by them, and in writing her story has recognised her own courage.
My God continues to stand at the right hand of the needy ones, and He needs many more lights to walk onto the lamp stands He has prepared so that He can shine ever more brightly there.
This is not about overseas mission trips, several weeks of having our comfort zones messed with, and then returning to the status quo and getting on with our lives, maybe changed a little in our heart and thinking. This is about taking His hand and walking out into the places near our own homes that are screaming for love and healing, and trusting Him to supply everything we need to be with Him there for the rest of our lives if necessary.
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!”
― Minnie Louise Haskins