Paul was No “Lightning Bug”

Paul was No “Lightning Bug”

I came across this little poem with a bigger-than-life message. See what you think.

The lightning bug is brilliant

But it hasn’t got a mind.

It stumbles through existence

With its headlight on behind.

I wonder, how many of us are “Lightning Bugs” (okay, if you insist, “Fireflies”)? We’re the ones who worry about the future because of the past. Our headlights are shining on things behind us, forcing us to anxiously look in one of two directions.

Direction #1 — Guilt

Some of us can’t take our eyes off the the sins of our past. We can’t believe we did what we did. As Christians, we’ve been redeemed by the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:7). We should “no longer have any consciousness of sins” in our past (Hebrews 10:2). But guilt has a grip on our soul and it won’t let us enjoy God’s love.

We feel ashamed!

Something Paul wrote might help us. When he was tempted to revisit his violent past, he countered that temptation with thoughts of Jesus’ grace and patience (1 Timothy 1:12-16). He focused more on all that Jesus did to help us with sin than he did on his past sins. When God forgives us, he forgets our past sins (Hebrews 8:12). By his grace, we should do the same.

Direction #2 — Grief

Some of us can’t take our eyes off the suffering of our past. We can’t believe God didn’t do what we thought he should do…allowing us to go through all that agony. As Christians, we know him to be the “Father of mercy and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). We trust his promise to “never leave” us (Hebrews 13:5). But grief constantly irritates a hole in our soul and won’t let us unconditionally trust in God’s care.

We feel abandoned.

Once again, Paul might be able to help us. What did he do when Jesus refused to take away his “thorn in the flesh”? He reshaped the way he thought about his suffering and chose to use it as something to help him talk about Jesus (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Our witness for Jesus is never more effective, our faith in God never more visible than in those moments we are blessed to manifest grace under fire.

Paul refused to be a “Lightning Bug.” He pointed his headlight forward and focused all his attention on one thing: the glory of living with Jesus in the future.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the price of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 3:13-14

Sounds like a great plan to me. How about you?