broken glass lenses…

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Have you ever met someone who has been through hell in their lives but you wouldn’t know it unless they told you? When you find out that they have faced terrible circumstances, like the death of their loved one, or facing cancer, or severe disabilities in their children, your heart breaks for them and you cannot imagine how they made it through. But then you also are amazed by the fact that they so full of humility and joy, like what you would expect from someone who has had an easy road. They have a right to be upset and burned out by life, but instead they seem to have a different amount of joy than everyone else. If you are like me, you might even look at them and tell yourself that they “just must be better people than me.” But as God has been teaching me about survival mode and our struggles, He recently showed me something that has changed things….and he used my job to do it. Let me explain…

As many know, I work in the audio-visual event production world, meaning that I work to plan, design and produce the technical elements for various events, from large arena events to small conferences and meetings. When you are planning an event that will be on a stage, one of the most important elements that you must take very seriously is the lighting. You can just put some white light on the people on-stage, but it will be boring and you miss on an opportunity to “raise the bar” of your event. But when lighting for the stage is planned very intentionally, it can literally be a work of art. The lights work perfectly with the audio and video and the people watching are drawn in and have an amazing experience. And one of the most key pieces of lighting is the use of colors and patterns and today’s high tech lights can do things never possible before. Colors can be blended, patterns can be added and everything can even be put into motion, all from one light and with one flick of a switch. But with older lights, all of the colors and patterns had to be planned ahead and literally installed into the light before the show started. The lighting engineer not only had to know how the various colors would interact but also how to use them to produce their desired lighting effect. And that’s where it relates to pain, struggles and my journey.

F4D5C1A19EAD4EEEB376AEFAB6297879When a lighting engineer would work to create a certain effect, he would use various filters that would add different colors and patterns to the light. He would “stack” the colors on top of each other and then shine light through them to produce a blended color, like putting red & yellow together to make orange, or blue & red to make purple. And by placing a filter on top of those with patterns in them, you could project colored shapes and patterns on stage. Some of the most amazing things I have seen on-stage literally came from the lighting only, without any help from anything else. The stage literally changed. But, another reality that the lighting engineer had to watch very carefully would be how many filters he would use because using too many would not only muddy up the lighting but also would stop the light from reaching the stage. Each filter removes a small amount of light and numerous filters add up to a reduced light projection. If they wanted to use a large number of filters, they needed a stronger light to project through them. Makes perfect sense.

And what I think God showed me is that those people who amaze me with their “grace within the valley of hardship” are like those lights. Their hardships that I have always seen as impacts on their lives are actually filters that have been added to their lights. One hardship adds a certain hue to their lives that will never go away. Adding another hardship down the road will literally change them for good but will create a new color. Another difficulty may look like it has cracked and broken them, but in reality it is adding a new texture. All of those hardships and trials have changed the person for the better, but more importantly it has changed their impact on those around them by shining a new beauty from inside of them. But, why some people seem to just radiate more brightly or more colorfully is not only because of their hardship filters, but also because of their source of light. Rather than trying to shine by themselves, pushing through and facing their hurdles on their own, they turn to a different and more powerful source.

In John 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And in Matthew 5, Jesus is speaking to His followers when he said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16) It is clear that the Lord not only designed us to be lights to shine on the world around us, but He designed us not to be able to do it by ourselves. Yes, we have a light that we can try to shine on our own, but it is so weak that it will be snuffed out after a few trial filters are introduced into our lives. But if we stop trying to do it ourselves, and turn to the ultimate source of life and light, He will shine through us. And the trials that we face and struggle through, while unpleasant and difficult, can end up being the most beautiful works of art that those around us see.

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~ by kuiperactive on October 15, 2015.

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