‘That Sparkle’ that once was in the eyes of many, has it been extinguished forever? This question is often asked by many who have encountered abuse and/or experienced heart-wrenching grief. We look at ourselves in the mirror and it’s simply not the same person we use to see being reflected back at us. We look older, tired, drained of life itself. Has the ‘fight’ left us? Are we to continue out our days in this dismal state?
As I pondered this, I thought of Jesus. He was a man well familiar with grief:
Isaiah 53: (KJV)
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Folks despised Him, and some still do. The mere mention of His Name makes their skin crawl. Truly, He has been rejected by many. He wasn’t some bright and shining star, dazzling folks with his funny jokes, smiley faces, ‘positive’ thinking. He didn’t travel with a band of musicians to ‘get them in the mood’. He didn’t offer them ‘riches’ in this world. He called out the religious leaders of His day and loudly proclaimed: “You hypocrites!” (Mt. 15:7). This troubled His disciples and they went to Him asking Him if He realized that He had offended the Pharisees by saying this. Jesus responded by telling them to leave them alone…that they are the blind leading the blind. He did not cower and worry that He caused offense for calling it as He saw it. He did not concern Himself with being ‘politically correct’. Oh, but was that ‘loving’? After all, God is Love, correct? YES! It was very loving. He wanted to wake them up. He wanted to alert those who were being led astray by the false teachers of His day. Those that were ‘washed’ on the outside, but had hearts of stone. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” (Mt. 23:27).
So many of us have a screwed up understanding of what Love really is. Partly, because of an environment in which we were raised; partly, because of what ‘man’ has preached from the pulpit; partly, because of what some have written in books which we have read other than the Scriptures. We hear and read of another’s interpretation rather than reading and hearing from God Himself.
Yes, in many ways, I have lost that ‘sparkle’ of innocence. When I first noticed it, I had to mourn its loss, as well. It has often been dimmed by the sadness and dark side of grief. Yet, the light has not been entirely extinguished. I can weep, yet rejoice, at a wedding. I can feel the sadness of my son’s demise and my missing him in the here and now, while being grateful simultaneously that he is in a place free …free…of all sorrow and death. I can picture him glowing and rejoicing and that brings a glimmer back to these war-torn eyes that have seen so much horror in this fallen world. I may be a ‘smoldering wick’ because of the heartache that I carry. However, God’s Grace gently blows on me with His soothing breath and the sparkle reignites, the flame burns brightly once again.
Isaiah 42: (NIV)
3 A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
It is that Hope…in Him…that keeps that light burning. A simple ‘smoking flax’, at times, perhaps. But, God is a God of Redemption.
As I have sat around a campfire, and the flames have subsided or even disappeared for the moment, a gentle breeze…a fanning of the logs…can suddenly re-ignite a bright and warming fire. Where there is smoke, there is Hope. The fire may burn differently, but it still burns. The light may vary, yet light remains. I will not hide it under a bushel. It will only go out when it’s time for me to turn in for the night, and enter into my eternal rest.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))