Today was discouraging.
I was sitting here trying to write a post addressing discouragement from a Christian perspective when I stood for a break and wandered over to the glass sliding doors in our living room. They look out on a large grassy field and a partial wetland, and as I surveyed the field in the evening light, I saw them:
I don’t like bugs. But I do love fireflies. And they are magical at night. I’m privileged to still see them; recent studies have shown that many fireflies are dying out due to increased development and environmental upheaval. But here they are fortunately still going strong.
And it’s such a delight to see them.
Blinking gold in the dark. Little sparks fading in and out all over, tiny stars flashing into existence before they disappear again. Firefly lights are precious, ephemeral, and really quite astonishing. You wouldn’t really notice one firefly on its own, but in a group they’re almost impossible to ignore.
I like to think all of us who make up God’s church are a little like that, too. On our own, on an individual level, we’re not much. And even all of us altogether are little more than many tiny flashes of light in the dark. But drawn all together under God’s gracious hand, what an extravagant-but-fragile display we make.
I erased my post on discouragement, because I stopped being discouraged. Instead, I went and stood at the glass doors and I watched the fireflies and their joyful, riotous evening show. I thought about how this is still, even in its brokenness that grows clearer by the day, a world in which God permits us flashes of great beauty. And I thought that in this world, it is quite the pleasure to be one of those many little fireflies: a giver of small light on my own, certainly, but part of something bigger and quite striking and magical.
If you have fireflies where you are, I hope you can take the time to watch a few this summer and smile. If not, I’ll leave this video for you (the fireflies begin around 1:30): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCWkzQqO7Ro
Go enjoy God’s love, and be that little light.