“We grow accustomed to the dark…”
Don’t our eyes adjust to shadows and shades? Don’t they all too often acclimate to the doom and gloom, to the dusky, dirty dimness when left too long in the unlit night?
Emily Dickinson thought so.
These words start her poem, this weighty lyric that sounds out our soul’s fitful acceptance of uncertainty, ambiguity, insecurity. The dark. Because its familiarity drags us so far into the night, we think no light will ever find us. Its prevalence makes us think we have nothing but our own feeble hands to grope and fumble our way along these unknown roads of life.
If only a lantern could be found.
Just enough illumination to take one more step, to push back the darkness. A bright hope to make visible a few deliberate inches, to reveal even faintly the outlines of what is. Of what’s right in front of us. Of firm places to move and step.
Oh, but there is.
Psalm 119:105 reminds us, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (NIV)
Not a strobe light. Not a spotlight. These flash on and off in undependable, rapid-fire fashion. They expose every flaw. They shine harshly on every blemish and blind us to the reality beyond ourselves.
No, God’s Word instead is a lantern.
A warm, hand-held device. A portable source whose substance moves with you, works for you. Its flickering beam provides just enough visibility whenever and wherever you need it. And it shines down on your feet in action. Its inextinguishable flame stands ready behind protective glass where wind, rain, the storms of life cannot douse its flame.
But not if you don’t take it.
Not if you don’t pick it up and carry it with you. You have to let it swing and sway, enhance and enlighten the path set before you to be useful.
Only then can it make a difference. As you read God’s Word, only then can it read you too. As you listen to God’s voice, only then can He direct your circumstances. As you hear Him, only then can He deflect the burdens you carry, scatter your anxious thoughts and point the way to safety, security, comfort, peace.
So, grab ahold.
Let God’s Word dispel the darkness today. Let Him bring the clarity you need, the lucidity you desire. And let His Light reveal this step, your next step, and every step. One step at a time. One day at a time. Until light begins to glow within you, and you become a lantern too.
Then your light can shine for others who have also grown too “accustomed to the dark.”
How might God be challenging you to spend time in His Word today? In what ways does this metaphor of light impact your understanding of God’s Word and its place in your life?