My friend Teresa shared with me about a walk she took on an overcast day recently. She stopped to rest at a nearby lake and reflected on the quietness and beauty that surrounded her. That is when she took the picture that accompanies this post.
Moments later a pelican flew in and landed on the lake. Teresa watched in awe as this large bird landed so smoothly there wasn’t even a splash.
The pelican swam towards her and she noticed that it was leaving quite a wake behind. A thought occurred. If this pelican could leave such a wake, she wondered what kind of a wake her life was leaving.
Each of us drops many pebbles into the water of life. We may never know what we have done to make a difference in someone else’s life. Who we are and what we do has a greater impact than we are aware of.
Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” This is the kind of life that pleases God and will leave a wake that is far reaching.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, (Zechariah 4:10 NLT)
A friend and I were traveling in northern Alberta. It was just after 8 am and a very chilly -19°C. She was driving and I was enjoying the beauty of the snow-covered landscape under a clear blue sky. As we rounded a bend, I witnessed something I’d never seen before. I said to my friend, “Look at the sky. It looks like a rainbow that is going straight up and down.” She told me it was a sundog. She had seen them before but never as vibrant as this one.
It seemed to come down from the sky, stretch across the frozen fields and reach right out to us. It was phenomenal to observe it cast its coloured hues across the trees and buildings we passed. There was nowhere to pull over to take a photo, so we etched this image into our memories as we thanked God for providing this visual gift for us.
Later I researched sundogs and found that they are a member of a large family of halos, created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. I saw several pictures of them online, but none as breathtakingly beautiful as the one we had seen.
If God can create such splendor by shining the light of the sun through icy skies, I wonder what he can do in my life. When I allow the light of his son, Jesus, to shine into my cold life, there is no telling what beauty he can produce. My life becomes bright and reflects his glory. This can create a radiance that can not only be seen by others, but will point them back to him. When I live my life in a way to reflect the light and love of Jesus, I too, will shine like a sundog in the frozen atmosphere.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)
As I looked into the clear night sky my attention was drawn to the full moon. There were no clouds to block it and I was filled with awe at its mesmerizing brilliance. The twinkling stars faded into the background and the moon was the focal point in the sky. The light it provided was so bright that it was hard to believe it was only a reflection.
The moon on its own does not emit a light that we can see so clearly this far away. It actually reflects the light of the sun, and that is what was illuminating the night sky.
Gazing at its beauty, I am reminded that the only way my light can shine brightly enough to attract others is when I reflect the light of the Son, Jesus.
Just as clouds can block my view of the moon and obscure its light, I can easily let difficulties become my focus, making it impossible for the light to reach me. This impacts my ability to reflect that light to others. When I consciously seek the Son, and focus on him, his light can shine in and through me. This enables me to reflect the light of Jesus into the dark corners of my world, thus fulfilling his plan for my life.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
As we drove through the mountains we passed several lakes. One was a bit choppy from the breeze coming through the valley. The wind had stirred up some waves and the occasional white cap. Most of the lakes were calm and a few were so smooth that everything on the shoreline was reflected in them, like a giant mirror.
Gazing at these lakes, I realized that they had some good lessons for me. One of the things they teach is that it is best to stay calm. I am not nearly as inviting when I let things stir me up. When calm, I have the opportunity to make positive ripples.
Some of the lakes are crystal clear and I can see to the bottom. This reminds me to look below the surface. Things are not always what they seem at first glance.
The smooth, glass-like water has more than one message for me. The first one is that I need to take time to reflect. Sometimes in my busy life, I forget to do this. Even more important is to remember that it is God who calms my choppy waters. The more I come to him in prayer, the smoother my life becomes. He alone can calm the wind and the waves that stir up my discontent. The more I come to him, the more peaceful I become. This is what will enable me to reflect him to others.
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39 NIV
His Son is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact likeness of God’s being. He holds everything together through his powerful words. After he had cleansed people from their sins, he received the highest position, the one next to the Father in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 God’s Word Translation
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 New Living Translation