[Jesus said,] "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16 NRS)
Drayton Hawthorn, a good friend, recently wrote describing tense moments experienced while waiting for his wife's surgery.
It was ten o'clock at night and she was outside looking at the stars! I thought it was settled and done. Robin's surgery was a few short days away and although the doctors assured her this was a routine procedure, she was still looking as if they were going to amputate something! As her husband, I assumed my duty was to hide concern while showing a strong front. Like most men, I substituted statistics and reason for assurance and thought it was enough. Now she was worrying again. I walked toward her ready to offer more of my male logic.
That's when the miracle happened ...
Everything I planned to say vanished. Unknown words came from my lips, as I silently wrapped my arms around her waist and kissed her cheek. "God loves you. Everything will be all right. You will see a shooting star as my promise that you will be ok." In an instant the most spectacular shooting star we ever saw blazed across the sky from horizon to horizon. A surprised and delighted, "Ooh!" came from Robin! For a long moment neither of us spoke. What could we say?
Moments before, I was an insensitive, scolding husband walking towards a fearful, anxious wife. Somehow, God miraculously intervened and changed us both into vessels of His gracious love.
Usually, our influence as a lighthouse is seen through a steady, consistent beam of light. People know and remember us by our day-to-day actions among our family and friends: We could be a family member continuously offering love and acceptance or a boss supplying encouragement when needed most or we could be the friend who telephones when others are at a low point.
But, occasionally, there are life-changing moments when God's extraordinary light suddenly shines where it's needed most and the only word that adequately describes what happens next is ... miracle. Drayton and Robin witnessed a miracle. Here is another:
What started, as a normal day at a local high school became a tragedy for a young sixteen year old boy full of enthusiasm and friendly mischief. During tennis practice, he suddenly dropped to the ground clutching his chest. Within minutes, this vivacious young man was gone. Lighthouses quickly appeared from all over the county. School officials opened up the high school auditorium and encouraged the students to gather. A minister's wife got word to fellow pastors. The students themselves began to gather in small groups sharing condolences, memories, and tears.
But, just as we were starting to leave, Russell, a father of one of the students stood and said: "Before we go, I think we should pray. Let's form a circle and hold hands. I'll start, and the rest of you join with me." Hundreds of crying parents, students, pastors and school officials formed a giant circle, bowed their heads and earnestly began to pray. For a few moments, we could all feel the Holy Spirit of God in our circle of mourners: Russell was a lighthouse of God amidst the grief.
Drayton Hawthorne went on to write:
Being an instrument of God's will at times may not be voluntary or even expected. I always believed God would use me as a prophet only if I asked and was spiritually clean. Sometimes, this is undeniably true but not in my case. God abruptly interrupted my mission and lovingly substituted His own. I wanted to comfort Robin with common sense and almost interrupted a miraculous moment of faith. No matter the reason for why it happens, when God uses you for whatever purpose, you will feel blessed because of it.
Thinking of the wonderful moment Robin and I shared with God is very emotional for me. Several times in telling our shooting star story Robin would need to finish because I became too "choked up" so once more I will let her finish ...
Robin smiled and then said: "After we stood there a few moments just soaking in what happened. I turned to Drayton and whispered, 'Do it again!'"