July 15, 2012

Faith By Candlelight

I love candles. Especially scented candles. Have you ever lit a candle, set it in a corner in a room, turned off the lights, and just watched it flicker? Have you ever just watched the light dancing on the walls? It's mesmerizing. Have you ever noticed how the longer the candle burns, the stronger the scent gets and the brighter the flame?

Every time I light a candle I somehow get lost in my thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I'm no longer sitting in the room. I love watching the flame grow higher and the pool of wax beneath the wick get bigger and bigger. Then I leave the room momentarily, come back, and the scent washes over me once more because I was no longer immersed in it for that moment.

Faith is a lot like a candle. Faith in anything. Faith in yourself, faith in another person, or faith in God. It can sit dormant on a shelf for a long time waiting to be lit. Once it is lit, though, it is lit until something happens to it. The flame can flicker, go sideways, or almost diminish, but it can remain lit. Our faith in something can flicker, go a different direction, or almost diminish, can it not? It still can remain lit though. A sudden gust of air, of wind, or of breath can extinguish the flame. All by outside forces. Something could happen to our faith. An outside force can extinguish the flame in an instant, like it was never there. That can happen with your faith in a person. It can happen with your faith in yourself. It can happen with your faith in God. And it does happen. That one person can do something to you that just shatters a lifetime of faith. Some outside event down in this world can shatter faith in God. But that flame can also just go on burning and burning until the flame is surrounded by a liquid pool. The scent is so strong and you can smell it from anywhere, but you have been immersed in it so it seems normal to you. You may leave for a moment, return, and smell the candle more than ever. Don't lie, it makes you happy when it's a pleasant scent.

The good news is, no matter how many times the flame is extinguished, it can be lit again. The burnt tip of the wick still can be lit again and again, however many times you choose. It begins small, but builds into something that may take a few breaths to extinguish the next time. As the pool gets bigger and bigger, the scent gets stronger and more rooms are affected by that one candle. The brighter your faith, the stronger the influences. And the candle only has to continue burning. Re-lighting the faith in another person candle is hard, but, with God's help, can be done (sometimes through forgiveness). Something I've realized about my faith in God candle... It may falter at some points, but it will never stop burning.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'"
-Hebrews 12:28-29

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