The Great Light

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Nov 7, 2018 12:35:06 PM

Phil is an optimist. But recent issues around homelessness force him to look toward the true "Great Light," Jesus Christ.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” – Isaiah 9:2

Generally, I'm an optimist. I see what is possible. I dream and make big plans (big enough that I make my staff nervous every now and again). I see the need, I see the way to meet it, and I get excited about the process – not ignoring the obstacles but not letting them get in the way either. I believe in a big God who does more than we can ask or imagine.

However, over the past year, I admit to experiencing periods of discouragement. The current homeless situation is challenging. Even with all the new housing-first projects, I see more people sleeping on sidewalks downtown, more people panhandling. With the recent backlash against area “sit-lie” ordinances, I worry that the fate of Seattle and Portland – abounding with tent cities – may be ours. The national political climate has been acrimonious, and not every decision has gone the way I’d like. In my Bible studies at the women’s shelters, I hear horrendous stories of abuse.

My small-town alma mater, a place I’d always considered safe, experienced a shooting just a little over a year ago. I’ve seen multiple people who were walking in newness of life relapse and go back to their addictions. As these events piled up, I confess to feeling disheartened at times. 

And when that discouragement comes, the only antidote is powerful truth. Not the pale sentiment of a Hallmark card, but the radical truth of Christmas.

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” – John 1:4-5

The Light of Jesus Christ will always overcome the darkness. And not just in a cosmic, eternal (you’ll see it
someday) way, but in an everyday way, as well. No matter what the headlines say, all is not lost. There is hope.

Once I remind myself of that truth, I start seeing it everywhere I look: a boy donates the turkey he won at school; an elderly grandma brings in 100 hats she’s knitted for our guests; an Eagle Scout builds a picnic table; a mom gets her children back; 40 people get baptized in the Spokane River; a former addict runs her first half-marathon; a smoke pit turns into a garden; a child decides to trust Jesus.

In Psalm 104, the psalmist does something similar – looking around and reminding himself (and us) of all that
God has done and is doing. There is always hope. Thank you for coming alongside us to share it.

Remembering to be thankful is one way to focus on the Light. Check out our free gratitude-building tool, A Week of Thankful.

"A Week of Gratitude": Download your free worksheet.

Topics: Heart to Heart, thankful, light, homelessness

Click here to see all articles for the November 2018 issue.