Click! Nothing. Click-click!! Still nothing. Click, click, click!!!…Sigh. “Phooey, the batteries must be dead,” I mutter.

I own a number of battery-operated candles and lanterns…so many that I often put some of them in storage and like the irresponsible battery-owner that I am, forget to take the batteries out first. When I retrieve the lanterns to use and they don’t work, I investigate the battery compartment and often find that gritty, whitish-bluish substance caused by leaking potassium hydroxide all around the forgotten batteries. Corrosion! 

I am resurrecting a set of Japanese lanterns that hasn’t seen the light of day since our son’s wedding six years prior. Every one of them has a set of beautifully corroded batteries inside. Rather than bidding the lanterns a sad goodbye, I grab a screwdriver and begin to force the encrusted batteries out and clean the compartments in hopes I can still use the lanterns. Vinegar, a small paintbrush, sandpaper, a rag, and rubbing alcohol are put to use to clean the terminals. Similar to a teenager popping pimples, I experience a sense of satisfaction as I watch the vinegar bubble up and dissolve the corrosion. Then I clean the connections with rubbing alcohol until they shine.

Now, the moment of truth. Will the new batteries work? Why, yes, they do! All my Japanese lanterns are saved…at least for another year! 

As I was praying over the theme of connections for a recent writing retreat, the image of the corroded batteries in my lanterns came to mind. “Ugh…corrosion of connections has taken place during COVID season,” I sigh. We have been “stored away” from others and “put on the shelf,” and now that we are brought out again from isolation, we find that some of our connectors just aren’t working. And what’s all that crud around them? 

Connection to God has been corroded in some cases. Connections with others as well. Just as corrosion is the gradual destruction of materials by a chemical reaction with their environment, so spiritual corrosion occurs gradually because of living in the environment of a fallen world… with fallen people. 

How can we heal this corrosive damage and have a bright, healthy connection with God and others again? Just like my lanterns, we don’t need to throw out our sources of light. They just need cleaning up and fresh “batteries” put in. 

We were made for connection. That’s for sure. We were made to shine. We know that, too. As we open our heart compartments, we know our Father wants to clean us up and heal our connectors with Him and others.  It’s His pleasure to do so. Why not ask Him today?  

“But if we keep living in the pure light that surrounds him, we share unbroken fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, continually cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7 TPT). 

~ Janet Mueller

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