I have often heard people compare life to a roller coaster, with ups and downs. There is some value in that metaphor, but it seems to me that it might be more helpful to compare our lives to the earth as it travels its course. As it revolves, it goes from day to night and back to day. Yet, even as this rhythm is beating like a drum, it passes through seasons that encompass the days and the nights.
During the day, we can usually see the path before us clearly, although there are seasons when it is obscured even in the daytime, when covered with snow, or our vision is limited by fog or storms. During the night, even though we know there is a path before us, it can be very hard to see it, as our human eyes require a high level of light to see things and recognize them with confidence.
The Lord is our light source at all times. During the day, he provides the sunlight, and we see so easily and well that we may take it for granted. However, during the night, without sunlight we can become discouraged, we can lose our way, stray from the path. Sometimes, because we fear, we stop our forward progress during the night completely. We refuse to take a step without being able to see the horizon, and we wait for the morning, for the dawn. This seems like the safest choice. But even when we cannot see clearly, the Lord can be our beacon. Even in the darkest times, he shines the light so that we may see the path, if we will look and trust him. If we let go of our fear, open our eyes and take one step at a time we are safe when we stay in the light of his love. Even when all that we can see is where to put one foot next, if we trust him not to lead us astray we can continue our journey. And the night will eventually give birth to the day.
I am reminded of the words of a wonderful hymn (#97), “Lead, Kindly Light,” written by John Newman in 1833.
Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
Have loved long since, and lost awhile!
He is always there, shining the light. He never changes. However, there are times when we turn away, perhaps in fear, and do not want to look where the light is pointing. We have eyes but do not see the way before us because we choose to look in the wrong direction, or shut our eyes and refuse to look at all, because we are afraid.
Trust the Lord. Allow Him to illuminate your path. He teaches us the truth and gives us his unconditional love. If you are experiencing darkness, bask in the warmth of his love, trust in his light, and take one step at a time until the morning comes. Let go of fear. Let go of discouragement. Let go of disappointment. Live in the present. Life is a gift. Receive it. Enjoy it. Experience it. Grow with it. There is no darkness in the presence of the Lord.
- Can you think of a time when you experienced darkness?
- Is there an area of your life in which you are experiencing darkness now?
- Have you looked for divine light – even just a glimmer showing you your next step?
- If so, are you willing to take the step that has been shown to you? If not, are you willing to look to the Lord for light and guidance?
- What will you do today to find and follow the light?
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