The darker the night, the brighter light shines. On October 29th, 2012, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey were slammed by Hurricane Sandy. Two weeks after the storm, over one million people were still without electricity. Millions of gallons of gasoline had to be rationed to relieve the tense gridlock at local filling stations. Extensive flooding made public transit in many locations impossible. The storm damage exceeded $30 billion in New York alone.

Nevertheless, the darkness (literal and emotional) of the devastating storm was penetrated by stories of individuals who gave of themselves to bear the burdens of their neighbors. One doctor offered free medical care; the residents of one home offered free electricity for people to charge their cellphones; Newark, New Jersey Mayor Corey Booker opened his home to over 30 refugees; some cab drivers lowered their rates and drove customers through the hazardous streets to reach their destination; when NYU’s Langone Medical Center lost power, the medical staff carried 260 patients down 15 flights of stairs aided only with flashlights.

Light is always accented in darkness. These acts of kindness and compassion, however small, provided rays of hope and comfort in the face of great tragedy. On an even greater scale, believers in Jesus Christ are called to counter the overcast world’s cynicism and despair with light. We can do this through our words, but the light is most visible through our actions. As we bear our neighbors’ burdens, the world will see Christ’s love clearly shining.

Do you know someone who has gone through a recent tragedy or hardship? Is there anything you can do to meet their needs? Perhaps you can provide meals for a neighbor who has lost a close relative. Maybe a neighbor’s car has broken down and you can help them with transportation. There could be an elderly family with health problems in your neighborhood who just needs someone to listen and care. As painful as life’s hardships may be, they are really opportunities in disguise. Use them to be a light for your Savior.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.