Several years ago I went through the darkest period of time I've ever experienced. It involved an agonizing challenge that surrounded a major decision. To me it felt so overwhelming that all I wanted to do was hide away at home and cry. Have you ever felt that way? One day God spoke to me and said, "You cannot live like this. You were made to shine. You need to look out beyond this problem because I have new opportunities. I am still working in the middle of your mess."
The Bible says, "The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day" (Proverbs 4:18). It doesn't say some days are meant to be bright and others dim. It says that even in a dark, difficult season, we are to a have a joy and passion for life. Jesus prayed that we may have "the full measure" of His joy within us (John 17:13). He wants us to "shine in this world like stars in the sky" (Philippians 2:15) and live with enthusiasm and expectancy of what He can do in our lives.
That challenge in my life went on for three "long" years. Every day during that time, I had to push through feelings of defeat and discouragement. Was it easy? No, but I was in the process of changing my perspective and learning to walk in the light of truth. I was changing my thinking and deciding that I wasn't going to wear a banner of defeat but a banner of victory over my head. I had to be willing to say, "This problem cannot keep me from living in God's joy. I serve a great big God, and He has great things over the horizon for me."
It was during those three years that I wrote my first book, then a series of children's books. At the end of that period of time, God vindicated me and showed me things that I had never known were even inside me. He gave me victory. If I had sat in the dark, waiting for things to change, I would have missed out on all the new opportunities and the exponential growth in my spiritual life during those three years.
Are you shining today, or are you a bit dim? Is there a black cloud over you? Are you too focused on a problem that is trying to diminish your joy? Tap into the light and joy that God has given you. Keep your eyes on God and let the light of His face shine on you. No darkness can ever overcome it!