When the Lights Go Out


I remember at least two instances in my life (though probably a few others if I tried) where I turned the lights out on something for the last time, and I began to cry. One was in the summer of 2008 in Philadelphia. I was directing a summer project for students there, and it was one of the hardest yet more rewarding times of my life. I invested a lot of time and energy in the students, and I’ll never forget the final night turning the lights out in our main gathering room. The next day I would see everyone off, and the next few days we would debrief as a staff. But something about hitting the lights that night brought me to tears. It felt like the end of something. It was the end of the project, but it felt deeper than that. It was. We would never experience what we experienced that summer together again. Things were going to change moving forward, and a big part of me was not ready to go there. I wanted things to stay the way they were for longer. Turning the lights out that night meant accepting that this time was over, and moving forward things would be different.


I’m sure that many, if not all, who are reading this have felt this before. Perhaps you have felt this many times in your life. It is a mixture of sadness and nervousness. Honestly, this is a little how I feel right now. Everyday it feels like someone is turning lights off in our society. I know I will still see everyone “tomorrow”, but something is ending, too. We won’t experience life the same way we were before. In a sense, I’m not ready for it to end. Things are changing before our very eyes, and for some it is too much too quick. Soon we will be talking about the “post-COVID-19” world. We will look back and remember the way things were before this pandemic just as some of us can remember life before 9/11. For now, it is all happening in real time, and we are all feeling all sorts of feelings. Some are feeling sad, some terrified, some depressed, some angry, some bitter, some cynical, some confused, and on and on. I’ve not met the person who is happy and just overjoyed at everything that’s happening. These are trying times for sure, and we are all about to be thoroughly tested.


I am reminded of how Jesus ended what’s called the sermon on the mount in Matthew 7:24-27. He says, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

I want to first point to the wording of what happened here to the two types of people. It says of both that the rain fell, the floods came, the wind blew and beat against the house. Both are enduring an intense storm. Jesus did not say if you listen and do what he says that everything will be nice and wonderful and easy. No, this intense storm respects no person. It has come for everyone. Our tendency is to focus on the storm, but the storm isn’t the point of the passage. The storm does, however, serve a big purpose in this passage. The storm is exposes us. It rips through our facades, our pretense, our faux securities and exposes what everything in our lives is truly built on.


So if this is the purpose of the storm, the purpose of COVID-19, then we would be wise to pay attention to what it is revealing about the foundation our lives are built on. Jesus said that everyone who hears his words and does them has built their house on the rock. Jesus never makes the distinction that we often like to make that faith and works do not go together. What Jesus is saying here is that those who hear his words and do them, are those who trust him. We are not saved by doing works for Jesus. We are not saved by doing what he says. Rather we can do what he says because we believe in Him, and because we do we obey him. Those who trust Jesus, listen and obey Jesus. We are not perfect in this, but we are not left either. Meaning, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to make us more and more like Jesus.


There will be a 1000 storms that hit against your “house”, and only the foundation of the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ, will keep you from falling. My plea for all is that you would not look to the storm and fear what you might lose, rather look to Christ the foundation of your very life and live! Is your life founded on the rock? On Jesus? In storms, in pandemics, in cancelations, fix your eyes on Christ, your foundation. The One who is your life (Colossians 3:3-4). During a time when schools are closing, sports are canceled, no one can travel, and everything seems so uncertain we have a firm foundation. DO. NOT. FORGET. THIS. When everything around us is changing, Jesus is not! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) — no matter what may come. He is our constant. Jesus calls the one who built his house on the rock, a wise man. True wisdom says look to Jesus. Trust Him. Build your life on him, so that in the storms that come you don’t lose everything, even your own soul.


Jesus says that everyone who hears his words and does NOT do them falls and great is that fall. Jesus is very plainly saying to all, that He alone is our only hope. Any other foundation you built your life on will crumble when the storms come. The whole thing will come down, and when Jesus speaks of how great the fall is he is not talking about how loud a noise it will make or how big the building was. He is talking about our eternal state before God. My hope for many during this COVID-19 pandemic is that Jesus will graciously, and gently reveal to you that you have not built your life on Christ. My hope is that you will hear Jesus words and do them. That you will turn to Jesus in faith, and entrust your very life to Him who offers you his life in exchange. There is storm that is coming for everyone, and it leaves nothing in its path. Death. This is a reality for everyone, and for those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as our foundation, this storm doesn’t win. Jesus defeated death when he was resurrected on the third day, and has promised for all who trust in Him alone eternal life. He has promised a resurrection for all who believe in Him. And all who believe in Jesus, will walk in obedience to Jesus. This means they will build their lives on Christ, and they will endure all storms even death itself because of Jesus.


The times we are in right now are really hard, and probably going to get even harder. We are reaching the moment where we will stand looking around the “room” where so much life happened, and we will have to turn out the lights. We will weep, as we should. We will mourn, as we should. We will lament, as we should. It’s hard, it always is, but it’s not over. Life is changing. Our world is changing. Things will be different, but Jesus will still be the same. And one day soon, whatever that day will be for you, the lights will go out on our lives. We will weep, as we should. We will mourn, as we should, We will lament, as we should. It will be hard, it always is, but it won’t be over. Our lives will change. Our world will change. Things will be different, but Jesus will still be the same and I pray you will be with him.


I want to leave this post with the lyrics from Matt Redman’s song “One Day: When We All Get to Heaven”


One day You'll make everything new, Jesus

One day You will bind every wound

The former things shall all pass away

No more tears


One day You'll make sense of it all, Jesus

One day every question resolved

Every anxious thought left behind

No more fear


When we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We'll sing and shout the victory


One day we will see face to face, Jesus

Is there a greater vision of grace

And in a moment, we shall be changed

On that day


And one day we'll be free, free indeed, Jesus

One day all this struggle will cease

And we will see Your glory revealed

On that day


And when we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We'll sing and shout the victory

Yes, when we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

And when we all see Jesus

We'll sing and shout the victory


Yes, one day we will see face to face, Jesus

Is there a greater vision of grace?

And in a moment, we shall be changed

Yes, in a moment, we shall be changed

In a moment, we shall be changed

On that day


When we all get to heaven

What a day of rejoicing that will be

When we all see Jesus

We'll sing and shout the victory

We'll sing and shout the victory


We will weep no more

No more tears, no more shame

No more struggle, no more

Walking through the valley of the shadow

No cancer, no depression

Just the brightness of Your glory

Just the wonder of Your grace

Everything as it was meant to be


All of this will change

When we see You face to face

Jesus, face to face


-Bryan Padgett

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Redeemer Services

10:30am Sundays

1211 N. Washington St.

Stillwater, OK 74074

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Redeemer Office

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324 S Husband St.

Stillwater, OK 74074