Let your light shine
“Kill them big, kill them small, kill them, kill them, kill them all!”
Huddled and shivering with fear in a bathroom four feet long and three feet wide with seven other women, Immaculée Ilibagiza heard the unearthly shrieks of machete-wielding killers.
“I have killed 399 cockroaches,” she heard one of the killers say through the wall. “Immaculée will make 400. It’s a good number to kill.”
Immaculée cowered into the corner and held her breath, then did the only thing she could do: pray.
Born into the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda, Africa, Immaculée’s world was torn apart in 1994 when the Hutu tribe began one of the most gruesome genocides in history, slaughtering a million people in 100 days using little more than machetes.
A local pastor hid her and her seven companions in his tiny bathroom. She entered the bathroom a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family. After ninety-one days, she emerged weighing just sixty-five pounds to find that most of her family had been brutally murdered.
“All I could do was pray,” she wrote in her awe-inspiring book, Left to Tell, “so that’s what I did…I was certain that God had a greater purpose for me, and I prayed every day for Him to reveal it to me.”
Through the power of prayer, she found what she now shares with millions of people across the world: faith, peace, and forgiveness.
She uses her book and speaking engagements to fund her Left to Tell Charitable Fund, which directly benefits the children orphaned by the genocide.
“Let your light so shine before men,” Christ charged, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Carl Jung added, “The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.”
Immaculée shines a brilliant light in a dark world.
You have a light to shine, too. Have you found it? Are you letting it shine? How is the world better and brighter because you live?
If you’re struggling with finding and shining your light, ponder this profound truth, articulated by Viktor Frankl and discovered by Immaculée:
“That which would give light must endure burning.”
Your deepest wounds are the source of your greatest contributions. From the ashes of your pain emerges the radiant torch of your greatness, and that torch is fueled by trials.
We wonder why, if God is good, bad things happen to good people.
Allowing trials and suffering is God’s way of kindling our fire.
With the right attitude, that fire can warm hearts and illuminate paths for others.
But with the wrong attitude, that fire can easily erupt into the inferno of victimhood.
Victors shine a light on the path to peace, happiness, success, and fulfillment. Victims burn a path of destruction.
What are your deepest emotional wounds? How have you been hurt in your life? How can you turn your pain and anguish into faith and hope for others? Who else is suffering in ways you can relate to and alleviate because of your own suffering?
Suffering gives us eyes to see things no one else can see, equips us to solve problems no one else can solve. Or it can blind us to everything but our own pain and strip us of our power to make a difference in the lives of others.
Immaculée has shown us which path to choose by shining her light.
Endure the burning of your trials. Forgive and release your pain. Be a giver of life, hope, faith, and peace.
And from the darkest corners of your life will shine a brilliant, unquenchable light…