People Who Feel Like Sunshine

While my weary muscles drowned in a tub full of salt water, I asked Siri to play some soft, relaxing music. Soon, melodic tunes sung by names I didn’t recognize filled the air. A few of the songs would never make it to my playlists. They just weren’t my style. However, most of them did their job, and I sank a little lower into the water.

“Sunshine” eventually slithered into my ear and captured my attention. Simple lyrics wrapped with a slow and easy tune rolled out through a gentle, pleasant voice.  The song offered encouragement to anyone who might say, “ I’m seeing shadows everywhere I go and it’s hard to see the end. Tied strings and a puppet show, maybe I just need a friend.” The song’s advice was simple, yet profound: “Stay close to the people who feel like sunshine.”

The song made me smile because I have a list of people who feel like sunshine to me. They warm my cool heart, reflect God’s love, and shine on my path. Better yet, they don’t mind me staying close. It also made me realize that we are all given opportunities every single day to feel like sunshine to someone else. We may never know all the ripple effects our one little drop of sunshine might set into motion.

Perhaps, Joshua and Caleb never understood the significance of offering a positive report about taking the Promised Land. (Numbers 13-14) Their trust in God’s provision and protection could have been choked out by the other spies who saw all of the negatives. Yet, Moses and Aaron chose to stay close to the people who felt like sunshine. As a result, the Israelites eventually entered the land God had given them.

When the discouraged John Mark packed his bags, left the mission field, and returned home, Paul was not a happy man. Had it not been for the encouragement of Barnabas, the two might never have reconnected. Barnabas intentionally chose to be the sunshine for Mark. He stayed close and discipled Mark. As Paul and Barnabas got ready to go on another journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them, but Paul refused. He chose Silas instead. Knowing he was ready, Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed off in a different direction. (Acts 15) This wound up doubling the efforts of spreading the gospel while at the same time growing Mark even more. 

Many years later, Mark got to be the sunshine for Paul as he sat in a Roman prison. Paul specifically asked Timothy to bring the much more mature Mark to him. “Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11 NLT) All three men learned the importance of staying close to the people who felt like sunshine.

There are other examples of sweet, intentional sunshine sprinkled throughout the pages of Scripture. Yet, my most recent drop of sunshine came in the form of my eleven-year-old grandson. Benjamin underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins a few weeks ago to correct a birth defect. He will be there another couple of weeks for observation and further rehab. He has done incredibly well; partly, because of the wonderful team of physicians and nurses; partly, because he has amazing parents; but mostly, because he has a remarkable attitude.

When the date for surgery was decided, my daughter sat down with him to explain in detail all that he would be going through. They even watched some videos just so he would know what to expect. After going through it all, he matter-of-factly said, “Mama, I’m glad I had this problem.” She was taken back a little and asked, “Why is that?” This eleven-year-old came back with, “Well, I figure I’ll have a lot of hard things in my life, and this is just teaching me how to handle them.”

Out of the mouth of babes often come great words of wisdom. Indeed, everything we go through prepares us in some way or another to be the sunshine for someone else. Joshua and Caleb never doubted things might get hard, but they knew that with God’s preparation and help they would win every battle. Perhaps, it was no picnic for Barnabas to keep methodically injecting encouragement into a fearful young man. Yet, he was confident that God would do great things through them all. Mark could have resented Paul’s refusal to allow him to join him on his journey. Instead, he chose to stay close to the one who felt like sunshine so that he could become the sunshine for someone else. For me, Benjamin taught me to see the hard things as reliable teachers, and to keep the people who feel like sunshine even closer – people like him. We all need Jesus, but we also need each other. 

“Your lives light up the world. For how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place?Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.So don’t hide your light!Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 TPT)

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