Friday, October 15, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: Radiance

Reflecting the Radiance of Christ
A devotional by Karen Marstaller

“Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.”
— Psalm 34:5 (ESV)

A couple of weeks ago, I walked into a room full of women whose faces were illuminated with their love for God. Their radiance brought back a long-forgotten memory.

It was just a tiny, dusty little west Texas town, but I was home from college when I heard that an old Bible teacher in our church was dying. Mrs. S. had always been kind to me, and for some inexplicable reason, I decided to go visit her.

Since I wasn’t a Christian at the time, it seems strange that I willingly walked into the same hospital where my mother had died just a few years earlier. The memories of that day clung to me like burs as I approached the front desk.

Pointing down the hallway, the woman in charge gave me the room number and then said, “The family can’t get here until the weekend, so I’m glad someone will be with her.” It seemed like a cryptic comment, but I shrugged it off and walked quietly to my destination.

Mrs. S’s room was large, with her bed in the middle of it. What was unusual was the light. The windows were bare, facing the mountains that surrounded the community. Sunlight poured through the plate glass, lighting everything in the room—the bed, the IV drip, the morphine dispenser, and even the gleaming floor. It enveloped the room with comfort and warmth.

Asleep for a few blessed moments, Mrs. S. wore a peaceful smile on her face. Then my eyes saw the ravages the cancer had inflicted on her. The hands that had clapped for joy, or patted discouraged shoulders, or eagerly reached for her Bible to teach young people about her Savior, lay motionless on the bed covers. Well, almost motionless. One pulsing vein was slowly doing its job. It was clearly visible; Mrs. S’s skin was translucent.

Two nurses came to check her. Gently they woke her, stroking the sparse hair that had escaped the colorful scarf she wore. Tenderly they replaced the IV bag and checked the port in her hand. Lovingly they held her fingers between their own to warm them. “Mrs. S., did you see your visitor?” one of them asked.

When she searched the room for her guest, her eyes finally focused on me, and her emaciated face radiated joy. Speech was beyond her, but I’ve always thought she recognized me and was glad to see me. She was beautiful.

Through all the years of her life, Mrs. S. had poured out her days in order to serve the Lord. Faithfully she had taught squirming, inattentive children the truth about Jesus, the Savior of the world. Tirelessly, she had loved and nurtured all the kids in her classes, always making sure we knew that we mattered.

One insignificant little town, a “wide place in the road” was where God sent Mrs. S. to share the truth about Jesus to a bunch of skeptical girls. I can’t recall a single lesson she taught in our classroom, but the lesson from her hospital bed is the one I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Mrs. S. spent her life in the presence of the Lord. She shared her love of Jesus with everyone she met. And even in her dying, her devotion to the Lord was evident everywhere I looked. It was mirrored in the faces of her caregivers. It poured into the room through wide-open windows. It even reflected off the wax on the floor.

It’s taken a long time to understand the enduring lesson from my old teacher. Because Mrs. S. had obeyed the Lord in taking on a class with my jaded, disbelieving self in it, I was given a glimpse of a life well-lived for Christ. In her room that day, God’s peace was apparent. She rested in the glorious light He allowed me to witness.

The Lord knows all our days, and has recorded every one of our names, along with the number of days He gives. And for those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and follow Him, He gives the privilege of sharing His joy, His radiance, and His light with the people around us, just like Mrs. S. did.

In the Amplified Bible, Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].”

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the teachers we’ve had who taught us about Jesus Christ. Thank You for shining Your holy light into our lives, even when we don’t know Who You are. Please teach us how to spend time with You, and to be faithful in reading Your Word, the Bible. Please give us strength to obey You all the days of our lives. Help us to become a reflection of Who You are, the only true God, King of the Universe. 

In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

During this time of quarantine, Karen enjoys reading, writing, and connecting with friends and family via phone calls, texts, emails, blogs, live-streams, and video conferencing.  

She is grateful that the Lord has provided so many ways for humankind to stay in community, even when we are all hunkering down in our homes.

Karen says, “In this unprecedented time, we know that He has prepared us for such a time as this! To God be all the glory!”

You can reach Karen by emailing her at this address:

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