When our dog Jack and I take our late night walk through the neighborhood each evening, tree-shaded streets have become inky black. I always grab a flashlight, because without it, both of us would walk into parked cars and yard fences trying to find our way.
Most of our flashlights are the dollar store variety. Their circle of light is small and often inadequate, although a little light is better than none. Then there is the one flashlight, the heavy one, that has the powerful halogen bulb. When I carry that one, I feel guilty for producing a swath of light that spills into the privacy of people’s living rooms. It’s a floodlight in a tube.
Last night when Jack and I walked, my cheap flashlight was flickering with weak batteries, casting only a faint glow in front of us. This was irritating. First choice would have been to see all the way down the road, but my light would only shine as far as the next spot my foot would land on and no further.
Scripture gives us a word picture of this exact situation. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) When walking along life’s path, I crave a peek all the way down the road, right into my future, preferring a floodlight to a flashlight or a lamp.
But God is the only one who can see all the way down the road. Because of that, it seems sensible to leave the darkness and uncertainty of what’s ahead, up to him. He’ll light it up when we need to see it. Meanwhile, he hands us the lamp of his Word. He says, “One step is enough for now. Walk into that circle of light right in front of you, and let me worry about what’s ahead in the dark.”
Last night Jack offered the perfect example of why we ought to take God’s advice on this. He stepped in front of my flashlight’s beam, which suddenly cast his own black shadow directly in front of him. He startled, jumped to the side and searched for the dark villain he’d just seen, but the shadow had disappeared. The walk goes better if he stays behind the light and follows where it leads.
And I guess that’s good advice for me, too.
“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”(Psalm 139:12)