His Radiance

Psalm 34:5 tells us that “Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy. No shadow of shame will darken their faces.” This verse is a deep comfort and encouragement to me. But recently I’ve also begun to see the challenge in it. I am reading a heart-stopping, honest book by Carol Kent, called Unquenchable. She shares some of her own journey of grief and trust through her son’s incarceration but she also shares stories from other women who have stepped out of shame’s shadow and found God’s radiance in the midst of pain.

In the chapter I read yesterday she quoted from Matt. 5:14-16 where Jesus says that we, his followers are lights to the world, like a city on a hill. He challenges us, “Let your light shine for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father.”  The shadows of shame are a very painful and dark place to be. But it is not only for my own sake that He pulls me from those shadows and makes me radiant with joy, when I look to Him for help. It is for His own renown through me. I have no capacity to shine as a light before the world, without Him. But as I look to Him for help, His radiance, His shekinah glory shines through me to others. The radiance of His joy is contagious!

A few weeks ago I wrote a note to another missionary with Wycliffe Associates whom I have  taught with and thanked her for the part she plays on our Education Services team. I shared how much I enjoyed working with her and what a great encouragement it was getting to know her. I didn’t hear anything back from her until today. She wrote sharing about some dark days she’s been through and how her thoughts had been consumed with her own failures. She thanked me for my note and told me how God had used it to shine the light of His truth into her dark hours. What a moment of  radiance for me! Without knowing God’s exact design or purpose, I had allowed his radiance to shine through me, and His light had touched someone else just when she needed it. And because God is extravagant beyond measure, that radiance bounced back to set my heart aglow today.

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