Seeing In The Dark

My life, the ministry we are giving our lives to, every good thing has come from a small, obscure, even unimportant place. It’s been one little yes in the dark after another… each one guiding me to where I am today. Maybe that’s why I identify with Nancy’s words today. I hope you will, too.

Guest Post by Nancy Ortberg, author of Seeing In the Dark

Have you ever done any kind of remodeling job? A car, a room, a house? To be sure, there are points of excitement in these projects. When you first get the idea, imagining what the improvement will be. Perhaps drawing out the plans or putting on the first coat of paint.

But the plumb line? Nope. No reason for excitement there. It is a small moment in the overall scheme of rebuilding. It’s important, of course. The plumb line does vertically what a level does horizontally. It makes sure things are straight. No question this is important. But it’s not worth throwing a party over.

But God told his people to rejoice at the sight of Zerubbabel when he showed up with a plumb line in his hand. The verse right before this one helps us understand: “Who despises the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10).

We want big things. God is a big God. But here, in the small and quiet of a plumb line, he is working again. At a point at which we might miss his presence, he reminds his people to rejoice. This small moment is a big sign that God is at work.

Do not scorn this moment as unimportant. Do not show contempt for it being “less than.” Do not disdain it or look down on it, for it is a sure sign that the work has started.

seeing in the dark

Small, God says, is not unimportant. It is the very building block of important. It’s how important is created. It’s when a man whose ex-wife poisons every conversation she can to anyone she can chooses a civil response to her. It’s small; it doesn’t win the battle against her. But it is moving his soul in the right direction. It’s when a student, anxious about a test, studies and prays, forgoing the unethical means others around him are using to prepare for the test. Making that small decision sets his choice-making on a course for integrity. It’s just a moment, but it’s a good one.

It’s the stuff a great life is made of. A woman on her way to work leaves just a few minutes early so as not to rush. This enables her, when she has to stop for an elderly pedestrian, to move not to exasperation, but to peace. That small moment ushers in the Kingdom of God as much as any sermon we will ever hear.

It is not negligible; it is hope. It is not worthless, meaningless, or unimportant. Rather, it is the starting gate going up. It is the celebration of the race begun, and we are a part of it. It is a small thing, in which all things are possible. The Kingdom of God leaking out into the world.

Thank you Tyndale Publishers for partnering with me to share this devotional today. 

Nancy Ortberg is the Director of Leadership Development at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, in Northern California, and the author of Seeing in the Dark: Finding God’s Light in the Most Unexpected Places and Unleashing the Power of Rubber Bands, Lessons in Non-Linear Leadership.  A highly sought-after speaker, Nancy has been a featured presenter at the Catalyst and Orange conferences, and has been a regular contributor to Rev! Magazine.  She and her husband, John, live in the Bay Area and have three grown children: Laura, Mallory, and Johnny. Connect with Nancy on Twitter and Facebook.


Seeing in the DarkIn her much anticipated follow-up to Looking for God, Nancy Ortberg takes readers on a journey that began thousands of years ago. From an ancient cave in Turkey to the California coast, Nancy highlights the often unexpected, sometimes imperceptible, yet always extraordinary means God uses to light our way through even the most painful and challenging moments in life.

The School Girl Project

Close your eyes and imagine 14 year old Lilly in Africa. She’s finally gotten a chance to get back into school and even though she’s a year behind, she is thrilled.


So her teacher is surprised when she misses not one, but four days of school, the second month of school.

She falls further behind.

And it happens again the following month.

Nobody likes to talk about it.

But it’s a normal part of life for every young woman: menstruation.

Yeah. And many girls around the globe don’t have the extra money to buy products every month that would make it easier to stay in school.


What is an inconvenience for most, is life-altering for others.


“It is a normal part of life – but in many regions of the world it is a taboo subject. The silence around menstruation means girls in some countries stay away from school during their periods or even drop out of education. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa and other areas of the world, girls can miss out on up to five days of school per month or stop going to school entirely because of insufficient access to water and hygiene facilities, no separate toilets for girls and a lack of sanitary supplies.” source

My Kenyan friend Susan (and a Rehema House board member, employee of Compassion International), who led my first Compassion trip in Kenya in 2010, has a heart for these girls and their missed education. She and her sister have started an initiative to keep girls in school by supplying them with the basic need of sanitary pads.

And friends, we are going to help. We want to fill as many suitcases as we can with feminine hygiene products to send back to Kenya this month. Will you help?


Sisters, mothers, daughters lets join together and meet the needs of countless girls in Kenya.

Sure, nobody like to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t.

Please send sanitary pads (all brand, sizes and types) to:

Mercy House

8000 Research Forest Dr. Set 115-110

Spring, TX 77382

Deadline: Sept 26, 2015


Updated to add: Yes, we understand there are cheaper, reusable options. But these take education and time and resources (like soap and water). We will be sending ideas, samples, etc to the women leading this group. Until then, we are collecting disposable options. Thank you.