Blending in or Standing out
I am blessed to go to one of the best universities in Canada, in a beautiful location, nestled between chains of mountains on the southern coast of British Columbia. However, as the only Christian (that I know of) on my floor at my residence, it is often easy to forget the beauty of the majestic mountains surrounding me, and to become discouraged by my circumstances.
The reality of my situation is that I am constantly confronted with negative influences and pervasive spirits such as lust, and selfishness, and although the opportunity to be a light to so many people should be considered a blessing to me, sometimes it feels like more of a burden.
To be honest, I often wonder if I truly have what it takes to be a light. I understand that in order to shine in the darkness, I need to allow God to shine through me, because my light alone is not sufficient, but sometimes I feel as if allowing myself blend into the darkness would be easier.
God has used my circumstances as an opportunity to test my faith in the same way that Jesus tests the faith of the disciple Philip in John 6:5-11. A crowd of around 5000 men begins to gather after Jesus crossed over the sea of Galilee. Jesus asks Philip, where they would be able to get enough food to feed all the people; but the question was not asked out of concern that there would not be enough, the question was asked with the knowledge that the only thing that the people lacked was faith.
When I read this verse, I realized God had been asking me the same question, here at my university in the mountains; He wanted to know if I thought He would be able to touch each and every life on my floor, in addition to the others that I came into contact with on a daily basis. God wanted to see if I truly believed that the light that he had given me would be enough to dispel the darkness.
John 6: 6 actually states outright that Jesus asks this as a test, however, Philip’s response in the next verse is not one of faith, but of practicality; Philip states that in order to even begin to appease the hunger of such a large crowd, it would take almost a year’s wages.
This practical answer was not the one Jesus was looking for; the fact of the matter is that our logic and practicality confines how we allow God to act in our lives.
If we look at our situation and realize that the odds are against us, that we are the only Christian on a floor of 25 girls, that we are the only believer in our group of friends, or at our workplace, we place God into a box, and we allow our circumstances to limit the work He is able to do in our lives.
The disciple, Andrew’s response was the opposite of Philip’s; Andrew saw that a young boy in the crowd had lunch box with five small loaves of bread and two fish; however, instead of being discouraged by the limitations of the resources he had, and immediately disregarding them as insufficient, Andrew chose to acknowledge that the disciples did have a means of providing for at least some of the people. He did not allow the restrictions of his resources to discourage him, and although the amount of faith he had was not incredibly large, Jesus was able to use his little faith, to provide for a multitude of 5000.
If we respond to the question, where will you get the resources you need to accomplish your God given mission the way that the disciple Andrew did, by realizing that, although the odds are against us, we still have some means of fulfilling the tasks we are given, we give God the opportunity to use our tiny step of faith to bless the people around us. This step of faith, in addition to perseverance, trust, patience and obedience are all it takes for God to begin to work, and God has been showing me that my efforts have been paying off. Although I haven’t been able to develop relationships with every girl on my floor, I was recently given the opportunity to share my faith with one person, and everyday I am able to share my light by being a blessing.
Although some people shy away from the light, I am confident that God will use me to touch the lives of each person in a different way. If the very least I do is brighten a person’s day, even if that is the extent of the blessings I am able to give others with the resources I have been given, I am confident that God will multiply everything I do.
All I need is to have faith that His resources are more than enough to feed the multitude gathered by my mountain.
Michee Hamilton, VBD Contributor