As my family and I stood on the deck of the boat operated by the Virginia Aquarium, watching for the fins and flippers of dolphins off the sands of Virginia Beach, we drew close to the site of the Cape Henry lighthouses.
Although our eyes were mostly focused on the waters around us, I briefly pondered the stately sentinels standing watch over the ocean, providing nightly a perpetual warning of dangerous rocks and offering skilled sea-farers a reference point by which they could navigate their ships. A thrill ran through me as I considered the serious responsibility carried by those lighthouses and how over the years sailors have trusted their signals.
The older lighthouse, built in 1792, was designed by John McComb Jr. (who was also the architect of New York City Hall) and was constructed of sandstone from the same source as the White House. It is said that the older Fort Henry Lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington himself.
The newer lighthouse was constructed in 1881 after the original lighthouse was damaged by a lightning strike. The older was left standing to this day where it not only remains a national landmark, but offers a “daymark” (a daytime reference point for sailors) as well as, along with the newer lighthouse, a point of triangulation (a term that has been explained to me but is relegated to the realm of words so technical that they seem almost mystical to me like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”).
At any rate, the Lord has placed His own “lighthouses” in the world, too. These are “lamps” through whom His radiance shines, sending light into the darkness of our times, warning us of dangerous waters, and signaling God’s resolve to not simply settle for our sinking on the jagged rocks of confusion, sin and faithlessness. He has sent His people into the darkness and confusion of the world to be a testimony of His great and awesome love.
In the daylight, lighthouses are spectacles of grace and beauty. We are fond of them as tokens of art and enjoy decorating with them (we have several in our home). Are you aware that no two lighthouses are identical? In the daylight, the pattern of their colors and stripes permits a sailor to know his exact position along the coast. At night, each lighthouse flashes its light differently so that, again, a sailor might be able to know exactly where he is as he sails through the darkness.
If you are a Christian, how does His light shine through you into the darkness of our community and world? When greed, immorality, deceit and selfish ambition are the norm, how has God’s presence in your life made a difference for others to see? A lighthouse with no light in the darkness is a useless building … a waste of brick and mortar.
If your light has gone out, let God rekindle His flame in you so that His love for those around you may be made known. May the light of His grace and goodness so illuminate your own attitude and behavior that those who are surrounded by the darkness of fear, hate and confusion can avoid the destructive rocks of sin and meet God’s love in Christ Jesus.
The Lord has called us to be “lights in the darkness”… His compassion for the lost and His passion for His glory compel Him to fan within us a flame of holiness and testimony as we live lives surrendered to Him.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, 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 Who is in heaven…. God, Who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us…. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…. You yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness” (Matthew 5:14-16, 2 Corinthians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 2:19 ESV).
If you have not yet turned your life over to Him and are still afflicted with the darkness of soul that only God can dispel with His holy love, then take heart and know that His light of forgiveness can penetrate the darkest places of your heart, cleanse your life of the foulest of sins, and bring the brightest of lights into your life! All He asks is that you place your faith in Jesus, and turn your life over to Him!
“In (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, Who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:4-5, 10-12 ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]