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On the Side: November 2019

Walk In The Light You Have


“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life’” (John 8:12, NASB). 

“Walk in the light you have.” I don’t know when we first started saying that to our children, but it was probably when they were in middle school or high school and thinking about their plans for the future.

“You can’t know everything right now,” we’d say. “Just do what you know is next. Be faithful to the task at hand. God has a plan and He’ll show it to you at just the right time. Just walk in the light that He has already given you, for now.”

They were young and bright and full of promise. There was so much they could do, so much they wanted to do, so much they were afraid of not doing. Where do you start when you find yourself there? You walk in the light that God has given you.

My friend, Robin, did that. She felt God leading her to start a medical wives’ Bible study. She had a vision that it would grow. Her heart’s desire was that it would be a ministry to internationals, leading to a worldwide witness for Christ.

As we stood over her kitchen sink in Rochester and she shared this with me, I stood in awe of my friend, who seemed to have such a big dream. It was clear God had touched her heart and given her this vision for the future. Inspired by it all, I told her, “Yes, I think you should do it!” … or something helpful like that.

That was in 1988. What started as a Bible study with six women in Robin’s living room over time became Side By Side! Now an official ministry of CMDA, it has nearly 100 chapters in the U.S. and international chapters as well!

Thousands of women have been or are currently involved in Side By Side chapters. And how many children of these women? I think we may have lost count! How many lives have been affected? How many medical marriages blessed?

God knows all of these things. One day, when we all see the big picture that God alone now sees, we will know all the people that Robin’s dream has touched.

When we walk in the light God has given us, we accomplish what He has for us to do. I have another example, if you will permit me to share it with you.

A year or so after Robin started her Bible study, I realized I wasn’t getting to hear the sermon at my church on Sundays. I was there all right, but I couldn’t pay attention, because my two boys (then toddlers) kept crawling over and under the pews around us. No one anywhere near us could concentrate on the sermon!

God gave me an idea. I told my Pastor I’d like to start teaching the little kids a short Bible lesson in a different room during the worship service. That way we could sing and draw and play without disturbing everyone else. (I thought it was a good idea!) He was delighted and said he’d always wanted to start a children’s church, but he just hadn’t had anyone to organize and run it.

I said, “Great! I’m in!” I just had one question… “What’s a children’s church?”

Fast forward about 20 years. By now I had been teaching young children about Jesus for a long time. We had moved to our new home in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska (a place where this Texas girl never thought she’d live) and had two more children. All four of our kids had been taught in children’s church with some Bible lessons that I called “Just Us Little Guys.”

Since I like writing, I had written my own lessons. I had lots of them by now, along with skits, plays and even some VBS programs. Someone had put me in charge of Sunday School, so I had leadership and teacher training skills as well.

One day, God gave me a vision for something new I could do. I could share these lessons with other Sunday School teachers over the internet. If I started a website, people could go there and download them for free. The only problem was I had no idea how to create a website! But God is faithful!

In the fall of 2009, Sunday School Center was born. My hope was that my new website would reach people in exotic, faraway places… like Iowa. But God had other plans, bigger plans. And, since we can’t see the whole picture, like God sees it, we can just sit back in awe when we catch a little glimpse of it.

I remember crying when I realized that people in China could find the website.

Sunday School Center just celebrated 10 years online. In that time, it has been visited by many, many people from more than 180 countries. In recent years, it has averaged about one million unique visitors annually.

We hear from lots of these folks. Over the years, we’ve corresponded with thousands of Sunday School teachers and administrators worldwide, helping them in their ministries by offering advice and ideas and by encouraging them in Christ.

Still trying to walk in the light we have, this year we incorporated Sunday School Center and were granted tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. We have since begun partnering with other charities to help provide Bibles and other printed Christian materials to people in places where these aren’t readily available.

Both of these examples show how God can take something small and seemingly ordinary that’s offered in faith and turn it into something amazing! I recommend praying and asking God if He is leading you to do something. It could be something that seems tiny that you can do right where you are.

When you are following God’s lead, there truly are no tiny things. He cares about all of our efforts offered in faith. Think about that boy with the five loaves and the two tiny fish. He brought his little sack lunch to Jesus, and Jesus fed more than 5,000 people with it, and they had 12 full baskets left over (John 6:5-14)!

We can’t know everything right now. We cannot see the whole picture. We don’t necessarily see what God will do in our lives next or where He is leading us. But we can trust Him to lead us where He wants us to go and to provide for us when we get there. We just have to follow Him for today. For right now.

We just have to walk in the light we have.


About Sharon Chatwell

Sharon is a medical wife and mom living in Lincoln, Nebraska who occasionally still struggles with the internet. She encourages you to walk in the light the Lord Jesus Christ has given you today and to trust Him with tomorrow.

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