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The Reorienting, Reassuring Power of Light

While I was ministering at [a church] in Anaheim, we had a blackout during one of our services. An automobile accident knocked out the power line to our building. There were approximately three thousand people in the room and close to a thousand children in the area behind the sanctuary. For a reason I cannot remember, the emergency lights failed, too.

Sitting in the front row of the church, I was only a dozen steps from the hallway leading to the children, but the darkness was so overwhelming and disorienting that it was difficult groping my way there.

When I finally reached the door that led to a long hallway, I saw that a mother who had a small flashlight on her key chain had beat me to the door and was making her way to her children. Her small light didn't illumine the whole hallway, but it reoriented the whole scary moment for me. Soon others found emergency flashlights in the classrooms, and still others shined their car headlights through the classroom windows. We got all the kids out to safety.

After about five or ten minutes I made my way back to the sanctuary. It looked like a 1960s rock concert, as all the baby boomers had gotten out their Bic lighters and were waving them around as if "Hey Jude" was being performed by the Beatles. As funny as that was, what I still remember twenty years later is the enormous power of that mom's flashlight to bring hope and orientation to a seriously unnerving moment.

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