Bella Vista Church of Christ



Randall Caselman


When The Lights Go Out


  With a flash of lighting and a crash of thunder the lights were out. It was pitch black. I felt my way to the sliding glass door leading to the deck. That didn't help, it was just as black outside as it was inside. Flashes of lighting only gave momentary glimpses of the treetops and outlined the roof and railing in a fearful greenish glow. Nothing could be seen with any clarity.


  Life is a lot like a thunderstorm. We know who we are, where we are, where we want to go. Everything is in place. Then all of a sudden nothing can be seen with any clarity, a fearful eerie greenish glow settles over everything.  The doctor tells us there's nothing more he can do; the registered letter is from the bank recalling the loan; the notice on our desk is about downsizing the company, a divorce is granted after thirty-two years. The darkness is overwhelming, it numbs the mind, deafens the ear to anything good, it isolates us from others. What do we do?


  Don't panic! Easier said than done, but our survival equipment works best in a calm environment. Yes, we're scared, bitter, angry, even in denial. But these emotions only tend to inhibit the recovery process.


  Ask others to walk with us. The natural tendency is to withdraw. Been there, done that, Don't! Don't for two reasons:


1) Where we are might be quite different from where we think we are. Talk to an expert, call a trusted doctor, a financial consultant, a Christian counselor, minister, or friend who has gone through a similar struggle. 


2) God created us with a need for one another, fellowship togetherness. Now's the time to draw on the strength and encouragement of others. They are ready, don't deny them the opportunity to minister. James tells us, "in times of trouble pray, sing, call the elders, confess our faults (communicate our needs), the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective." Did you notice, these are things done with others, in community!


  Don't give up, start walking toward the light.

• If our darkness is a health problem, seek out the best doctor in this particular field, be proactive, become an active participant in your own healing. Take charge of your own health. Medical people welcome our cooperation in the healing process. Holistic medicine has its place. It reminds us that genuine health encompasses the whole person. We need to concern ourselves with: Nutrition, Exercise, Environment, Attitude, Spiritual Conscienceness, A sense of well-being. I like what the Mayo Clinic says: Maintaining good health is about Faith, Hope, and Science.


• If our darkness is a lost job, start working on the resume, network your friends and business associates. Find out what is available and apply now. If retraining is on the menu, start today! Moping over our loss is a waste of time, energy and accomplishes nothing.


• If the darkness is relational, go the person, clear the air. Be prepared to give in. Few disagreements are serious enough to rupture a relationship over. Most of the time it is our own ego that sustains the problem, fuels the fire. Life is too short, relationships too precious to bullheadedly demand vindication. We've gotta let go of our hurt and pride, get on with life. Stop living in our own self-perpetuated storm and become like Jesus, forgive unconditionally.


  Hold to God's hand. For the Christian, life is best seen through the eye of faith, regardless of the intensity of the storm. He promises: "I will be with you always. Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we can say in confidence, The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. "


  Give Him room to work. "Having done all to stand!... Stand!"  "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." "Be still and know that I am God." "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him." "We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us."


  Jesus is the light of the world. He is eternal. Darkness is temporary. Even if our storm is terminal, there's the promise of resurrection morning. Darkness is a prelude to the dawn. Trust God!


—Randall Caselman