I leave for work super early in the morning, which means it’s still dark outside during certain parts of the year. It was on one of those dark mornings that I found myself driving in the rain. As I drove along, minding my own business, I saw something move behind me on the roadway. Squinting my eyes, I tried to focus on the object in my rearview mirror. It didn’t take long before I realized it was a car driving without its headlights on.
Now you can probably guess where my mind went. Immediately I began to judge the person.
How foolish can you be? I thought. You have to know your headlights aren’t on? Come on, it’s so dark, just turn on your headlights. You’re going to cause an accident.
We drove for some time, cars passing around us, and still the car drove on in darkness. I grew so preoccupied in watching the car, that I’m surprised I didn’t cause an accident myself. As we drove further, my frustration growing at the incompetence of the other driver, I was struck by the bright reflection of streetlights and passing motorists on the pavement. It was then that I realized, maybe the person didn’t even realize they were driving without headlights. Maybe the headlights of others were making it appear as if their own lights were on.
It wasn’t until we got to a darker spot in the roadway, that the person finally turned on their lights. By then the impression had been made.
In my mind, they had realized they had been driving on borrowed light, and finally needed their own to finish their journey. This made me reflect on our own lives. How often do we drive along using borrowed light? Is it only when the darkness comes that we need to turn on our own light? And what would happen if those lights weren’t maintained? Would they be like one of the next car which only had one headlight. Half the power and brightness, which could lead the driver in a more dangerous commute?
How then do we make sure we are using our own light and that those lights are maintained correctly?
Revisiting the Analogy of Borrowed Light
For many months I thought about that analogy, finally coming to a different conclusion that the one I had previously drawn. Not that the first one, and the questions that accompanied it were bad, it was just incomplete. One of the phrases we often teach our youth and sometimes our new converts is that you can’t drive on borrow light forever. You need to eventually have your own light and testimony. And while that is a true statement, we may be unintentionally missing a crucial second part.
There will be times in our lives that the light of others is all that we have to help us through our trials and struggles. Sometimes we are struggling and that light from others testimonies is all we have to go on. Or maybe we have doubts and we can only use one of our headlights. There are times when all we can do is follow the light provided by others, because it’s all we can see. And there will be times when the darkness consumes everything and we feel we can’t see anything at all. We are all susceptible, and it’s okay. But the Light of Christ can pierce even the deepest darkness. It’s in our times of trial and tribulation that we can be grateful for the light of others around us, helping to strengthen and buoy us up.
By teaching the second part of the statement with the first part, we allow space for grace to work in our lives.
The Power of Testimony
Last month as I listened to the testimonies being born on Fast Sunday, a young man got up and bore his testimony. It wasn’t anything grand, and yet it’s impact on me was immense. He bore a simple testimony on what testimony meant to him. I wasn’t having a particularly bad day. I didn’t feel like I was lacking light in my own life, and yet his testimony was what I needed to hear that day. Whether he realized it or not, his testimony was like a beacon to me that Sunday. It set the tone and helped bring the Spirit closer, providing light to me that I didn’t know I needed.
This young man is the perfect example that you never know how the light of your testimony may help others around you. When we bear and live our testimonies, no matter how simple or imperfect they may be, we become a vehicle for the transmission of the light of Christ. In the church I belonged as a youth, you heard from the Pastor, and that was it. Today however, I am grateful to belong to a church where others can and do share their testimonies regularly. We’re apart of a church where we’re encouraged and invited to live our testimonies and let our light shine.
We should seek to develop our light, making it brighter by drawing closer to the Savior in our daily endeavors. Seeking to maintain our lights through personal habits of righteousness should be a priority. That way when the time comes, we can be a beacon for someone else. If speaking in front of others and bearing your testimony causes anxiety, I invite you to consider other ways to let you the light of Christ shine through you.
You never know how your testimony will affect someone else.