It was spring of 2017 here in Redding, and everything was just beginning to bloom. The mornings and evenings were crisp and cool, but the days were warm. And, this may sound funny to some of you, but anyone who’s lived here knows that Spring is the only time of year that the trees and the grass are green at the same time. Needless to say, the windows and doors are always open in the Gretzinger house. One particular Sunday in March, I was decorating the back patio to throw a dear friend of mine a bridal shower, and my brother and I were waiting for a very important call from my parents.
My dad hadn’t been well for quite a while, and he finally decided to go to the ER to get checked. I had that sort of anxious feeling in my belly. It’s that ‘you know you’re about to get socked in the stomach, and you’re just waiting to get hit’ kind of anxious. I took a deep breath and asked the Holy Spirit what was going on. He said that the news about my Dad wasn’t good, but it was all going to be okay. He told me that that the doctor’s diagnosis would be cancer, but not to be afraid. He already had a plan, and He was going to take care of my Daddy. I felt a calm that only comes from hearing the voice of the Lord come over my entire being from head to toe. A couple hours later, they called to tell us that it was cancer, and that a decision on treatment needed to be made relatively quickly. The sun was beginning to set as we listened to each other breathing over the phone, and with every breath there was pain, but there was Peace. I can almost feel it now, if I let myself go there. I knew in that moment that The Father of all Fathers was inviting us into a trust far deeper than we had known before and into a love stronger than death.
In the following days, there was weeping mingled with an unrelenting and violent hope. There were other heartbreaks that would unfold throughout the year, but these are stories I’m not yet permitted to tell. The one thing is knew for sure in all of the chaos was that The Father was teaching me to dance while the tears streamed down my face. That both pain and promise could exist in the same soul. I began to ask the Holy Spirit to teach me a new way of thinking, to lift my eyes to another realm. I prayed He would so transform my mind that eternity would become more present to me than this skin that was hosting me for my numbered days on earth. I was reaching for a state of enlightenment. I was looking to see above the fear, above the anxiety. And, I felt the Holy Spirit respond to my hearts cry so gently.
“YOU are the light of the world! It’s in your name. And, nothing can turn out the light that’s shining from inside of you. Nothing. No one. THIS is enlightenment, that you know who you really are.”
Maybe it sounds elementary. Maybe I’d heard those words a thousand times before, maybe I’d read them over and over in scripture, but in that moment my desperate heart finally heard them. Those red letters in Matthew 5:14 had never meant more to me than they did in that moment.
“You are the light of the world, like a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.”
There was a powerful shift that took place not only in my understanding, but in my heart posture. I was contending for the courage to confront all of my greatest fears. I began to pray that The Light of God would consume me until I had no shadow. I have been praying that prayer ever since.
If we’re really going to be the Light Of The World, we have to know who God really is. We need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We need a great awakening! We need enlightenment.
We’re living in a blackout, and the day is dark, but the light shines brightest in the darkness. If there was ever a time for us to shine, it’s now. If we ever needed to know who we are, it’s now. I pray that even as you read that the Light Of God would consume you from the inside out, that you would never again be threatened by the darkness, and that you would shine until you cast no shadow.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”
Steffany Gretzinger is a part of the Bethel Music family as a worship leader and songwriter. Steffany carries a powerful voice and pursues the Lord with raw passion, faith, and confidence in His presence. Steffany lives in Redding, California with her husband Stephen and daughter Wonder Grace and ministers in the US and internationally. Her newest album, Blackout, is available now.