Monday, May 26, 2014
The Metaphor of the Lighthouse
Divorce: A Raging Tempest
I was watching a video at church, and included in the video were stills of lighthouses shining brightly as giant waves crashed against the rocky shores. Coupled with the words included in the presentation, the shots made me think of how often in life it feels so much like those pictures. I can think of lots of times when I have experienced or seen others experience the storms of life beating down, threatening to overwhelm and destroy the work God is doing. I bet you have, as well, especially if you have gone through the storm of divorce.
There were several things that really spoke to me as I reflected on my life while watching the video. Having been to a few lighthouses here and there, the pictures took me back to some of those visits where I gazed at the noble structures designed to save lives. What a great thing a lighthouse is. It has no other purpose than to warn of danger and provide the kind of guidance that will bring a ship safely home. Lighthouses are especially important when the clouds prevent views of the stars by which to navigate. Lighthouses are available in all kinds of weather to offer hope and direction. It makes me think of John’s description of Jesus as the light of the world that enlightens every person. It also reminds me that Jesus said that we believers, too, are to be the light of the world. A critical task in a world in which so many people drift aimlessly and hopelessly, battered by the storms of life.
The other image that came to mind as I reflected on the waves hitting, splashing and bouncing the water one way or the other off the hard surfaces of the rocks. The lighthouse standing unwavering, completely unaffected by the raging sea.
Remember the parable in Matthew 7, where Jesus says that the house built on a rock will stand firm against the storms of life, while the house built on sand will crumble and fall, indicating that the rock is obedience to the teachings of Christ. The lighthouses in the pictures stood because of the strength of the rocks upon which they were built. You will stand or fall based on the strength of your foundation as well.
In this world there are many difficult experiences to be encountered and conquered, and many of them can cause us to give up or crush us in defeat if we let them. Divorce is that kind of experience!
How often individuals in the midst of divorce feel battered and beaten, as if they were drowning in the overwhelming seas of loneliness, financial hardship and emotional devastation. If anything will test your mettle, it is divorce. And if anything will test your faithfulness to God, it is divorce. And if anything will demonstrate the power of God to get you through any storm, it is divorce.
In the difficult days of my experience of divorce, the faith I had (weakened though it was) gave me assurance that I was not really alone, for God never forsakes us. It reminded me that there was a purpose for which God could use even the experience of divorce, if I would allow him to do so.
Like the lighthouses in the video, the teachings of scripture provided the kind of guidance that showed what God expected of me and what behaviors were and were not appropriate for me to make. And, like the rocky shores of those lighthouses, Christ provided the strength for me to endure through the tempests of divorce that could so easily have destroyed my faith, hope and love.
My message today is a simple one: if you are in the raging storms of divorce, let the onslaughts drive you TO God to find your strength in the teachings of Christ, lest you be likethose houses on sand that crumble and fall because they sought a foundation elsewhere and so were driven away from God instead of to him.