YODER: A man tells his lighthouse story

YODER: A man tells his lighthouse story

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Looking at the old lighthouse, some tourists talk about the aging structure.

“It’s seen better days, hasn’t it?” says one young guy who’s looking at the crumbling stone at the base where years of sea water have beaten it down.

“It’s certainly not pretty like on the postcard,” says another tourist ready to move inside for some hot coffee on this cold afternoon. Besides, trying to keep her hair from flying around in this wind is a big job.

“It’s probably time for them to tear this old thing down,” says another guy. “Put it out of its misery.”

“And ours,” chimes in another tourist. Many laugh at this comment.

As the crowd, still chuckling, begins to move on, an old man slowly, carefully, and reverently walks up to the old lighthouse. A hush falls over those gathered there. Each one, without realizing it, stops in his or her tracks and stands perfectly still.

Removing his cap, the old man looks up at the top of the lighthouse. His gaze goes all the way up to the lantern room, where the light itself is housed. His old blue eyes, faded by years of life, brighten. Remembering that dark and stormy night so long ago, the old man sees a bright and shining light that no one else present sees. He begins to speak.

“It was a long, long time ago. A lifetime, really. I was a young sea captain. Young and fresh and foolish. I thought I knew it all. What I didn’t know, I made up for in bravado. Inexperienced, I came off as an expert. People trusted me.

“And I had it all. A glamorous job. A pretty wife waiting for me at home. A new baby on the way. But it was never enough. I always wanted more. More accolades. More danger. More adventure. My employers loved me. I got the job done. I took chances others wouldn’t take. And I got the job done. That’s why I was out that night on the sea when I had no business being there. Like I said, the men trusted me. They’d follow me anywhere. Even into a brewing storm.

“It started out mild enough. The storm. But if you’ve ever been on the sea, you know how quickly a storm can turn on you. This one was a doozy. The worst I’ve ever experienced. Immediately, I knew I’d made a terrible mistake. Yet, the men still looked at me as if I was God and I could save them.

“Believe me, I’m not God. But that’s the night I met him. The Lord. Our ship was being tossed around like a ball. We were all turned around. No idea where we were. In the midst of the raging storm, those childhood years of my mother teaching me about Jesus came back to me. I cried out to him and I cried.

“It frightened the men. Can you blame them? Their captain, whom they thought knew it all and would surely save them, was bawling like a baby. They knew we were goners. I thought of my beautiful wife. I was filled with love and overwhelming gratitude that the Lord had brought her to me. I thought about my first child, soon to be born, growing up without me.

“And I thought about the men and their lives here on earth. Their families. Their dreams. Their very existence. And then I did something I hadn’t done since I was a child. I prayed like I’d never prayed before.

“‘Lord, I don’t deserve to live, but these men do. Save them, Lord. Bring them back to their families. And Lord, take care of mine. I surrender to you, Lord. I know nothing. You know it all. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. For a terrible sinner like me. Please forgive me, Lord, for everything. For not recognizing you for who you are. The Lord of my life. My life and the lives of these men are in your hands, O Lord.’

“In that very moment, the storm began to ease up. And we saw a bright light. To this day, the men from that night who are still alive talk about it with awe and reverence. A bright light shined out of the darkness. The light from this very lighthouse. This light brought us home.

“You think this old lighthouse should be torn down because it’s showing its age. Let me tell you something. That light is still leading sailors home to safety.”

The old man paused a moment. The tourists waited. He continued. “I’m just like that old lighthouse. I’m showing my age, too.” He smiles. “But the light that shines within me is as strong as ever. It came in me the night I gave my life to the Lord and has been with me ever since. It’s guided me through the storms of life. Jesus is the light that shines in me. He will shine in you too, if you ask him to.

“My life here on this old earth is coming to an end. I know that. But the light of Jesus will never stop shining. And it’s his light that will lead me home. Take it from an old sea captain, with the light of Jesus shining in you, you will never be lost again.”

The old man slowly turned around and walked away, leaving behind the tourists. Some left that day the same as they came. Unchanged. But some left with the light of Jesus shining in them. And they were never lost again.

Jesus is our lighthouse. Will you ask him to shine in you?

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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