Monday, October 12, 2015

My Love of Light

Wow, my theme for the past week or so has been light. I've thought about it almost every day. I've noticed different sources of light, and pondered on why I love it so much.

In addition to my own obsession with light this week, other sources of light have come my way, including this song: A Light That Shines

Growing up in the country where there are no street lights, I remember what darkness looks like. I remember how frightened I was of it.

When I was little, we'd get home from Grandma's after dark. I would pretend I was asleep so my parents would carry me into the house from our detached garage. Once I got too big for them to carry me, I remember running as fast as I could, heart pounding, to get from the car to the house. I hated the dark.

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night, and the hallway nightlight had burned out. I was sure I had gone blind. I opened my eyes as wide as I could, but I could see nothing but pure blackness. I remember making my way to the door way of my bedroom, whimpering until my mom finally heard, turned on a light, and let me know that I wasn't blind. (I still have night lights all over my house.)

As I've read this week about God creating light, shining His light in our hearts so that we could see His glory in the face of Christ, I've thought about light. I replaced the burned out string of lights on my grapevine tree on my front porch. I love seeing those little lights through the cut glass of the side lights of our front door. I love that my husband leaves the light on for me when I need to come home after dark. There's something about it that lets me know there's someone in there who cares about me--who's waiting for me to get home--who'll be happy to see me.

I think that's what it will be like when we get to heaven. Once we pass through the pain of death, we'll be welcomed by the light of heaven. Someone is waiting for us--anxious for our arrival! But there won't be any need for porch lights, night lights, or even the sun or moon!

And there will be no night there--no need for lamps or sun--for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever. --Revelation 22:5
 And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. --Revelation 21:23

Pressing On Toward the Light

The other day, I went for a walk down the Trillium Valley Trail. It was beautiful. It followed a little creek, and sometimes I could hear the water trickle. I was enjoying my walk, but as I went deeper into the valley, it got darker. It was early in the day, so the sun was not yet high in the sky. I started to feel a little claustrophobic.  I began to focus more on the dead trees leaning this way and that across the creek. Some of the hillsides and tree trunks were looking a little creepy. I needed air. It felt like the valley walls were closing in on me.
Just about the time I was trying to decide whether to turn back or keep going, I came to a trail marker. I could go straight, which would lead me into Buckeye Valley--a nice flat, easy path--or turn left to go up hill to Wren Run.

Sometimes we choose the easy path, even though it's not exactly what we want. We continue in "more of the same" because it's what we're familiar with--we know what to expect. Even though we want something better, we continue to choose the path of least resistance. We stay stuck in darkness instead of putting out the energy it takes to make a change.

I looked to my left. The trail leading up to Wren Run was steep, and I new it would take more effort to go that way than to continue on to Buckeye Valley, but my desire to get higher, more out in the open sunlight, was enough to push me up that path to Wren Run.

  Up and up I climbed, breathing heavily, (yes, I'm more than a little out of shape!) but so thankful for more light. Everything started looking more yellow and bright. The added brightness was enough to spur me on. I even met a little toad on the way up. He startled me at first, but then he hesitated so I could take his picture. I finally made it to the top and caught my breath. 
Light and fresh air have always been really important to me. Maybe it's because I grew up in the country with lots of wide open space. Our farm house was huge and was surrounded by corn fields and pastures. Yes, I need my space and lots of light, but I've had my share of dark valleys too.
Grieving the loss of a child was one of them. Continuing to pray and believe for one so dear, who is trapped in a darkness of his own, is another. But God is faithful, and my intense need for light pushes me forward and upward. I can't stay in the darkness for long. I'm so thankful for the light of Christ that gives me hope... that keeps me plodding along.

Can you see my shadow in this picture? It's right in the middle. I'm standing on a bridge over the Trillium Valley with the sun at my back. Valleys are a necessary part of our existence, but we can't stay there forever. We've got to make the decision to hike up the steep trail, even though it takes more effort and maybe even a little pain. But it's worth it to be out in the light, up on that bridge! Keep pressing on, my friend, keep pressing on!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let There Be Light in the Darkness

Lord, you spoke the world into existence. By the very words of your mouth, all nature came into existence. If just one thing was left out or miscalculated, it would not have worked. If the earth's axis was tilted just a hair too far or not far enough... If the moon was just a little too big or too small... If the orbit of one of the planets was off just a little, it would have all come crashing down.

But you hung each planet, each star, each satellite in the perfect place. You set it all in motion, timed the orbits perfectly, and here we are. How? Why?

Because you wanted to. We may never know how, and that's okay. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you did, and here we are.

So, if you can do all that just by your word, you can speak life into a man's heart.

You hovered over that formless, empty darkness of the not-yet-created. And you hover over that dark, empty heart:
   A heart that yearns for you, but doesn't know it.
     A heart desperate for light and life.
        A heart that is searching--that has just about given up the search.
          A heart that thinks things will never change--that this is all there is.
            A heart that used to feel so deeply, but now is numbed by drugs and alcohol--hopeless & void

God, you took a formless, empty darkness and created a magnificent universe. You can take a dark and empty heart--one that is void of any hope--You can shine your light, your life in that heart! And darkness will not overcome it. --John 1:5

Hallelujah, praise the Lord... for you commanded, and the heavens were created. You set them in position for ever and ever; You gave an order that will never pass away. --Psalm 148:1-6

You said, "Let there be light in the darkness." And there was... now let your light shine in that heart so that he can know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Christ. --2 Corinthians 4:6-7