A nightlight is a small thing with a big perk. Its tiny beam of light in an otherwise dark space can calm a fearful child or guide stumbling footsteps. One of my many inexpensive nightlights has a small electric eye on its front that acts as a timer. When the sun goes down and light is needed, the nightlight flicks itself on. If someone enters the room and switches on a lamp, the nightlight turns itself off.
Once in a while, as dusk slowly darkens the room, the tiny bulb in the nightlight isn’t sure if it should be off or on. It wavers back and forth, flickering on-off-on-off as if it’s waiting for the room to make up its mind. “Are you light or dark? Do you need me or not?”
During these winter days of shortened daylight, my faithful little nightlight turns on earlier and earlier as the nights lengthen. You might say greater darkness brings more light. That can also be said about spiritual darkness and light.
As a new widow, I remember the sadness of increasing winter darkness coming at the same time as my night of mourning. I was needy for even a faint bit of light on the miserable situation, but as it is for most new widows, everything just seemed to get darker.
But that ended up being a good thing. Just like my little nightlight produces steady light as soon as everything is black, God responded with strong light when my gloom seemed darkest. He showed his influence in many small ways during those early days without Nate, reminding me again and again that he was watching me and would light my path hour to hour, day to day, as needed.
The Lord also flickers about within our minds, waiting for us to recognize how “in the dark” we can be in our thinking, hoping we’ll crave the light of his wisdom. When we say, “Please illuminate this or that problem with your truth, Lord,” he stops flickering and beams brightly, shining new insights into us.
The only time he lets us continue stumbling in the dark is when we insist on finding our way without him. If we say, “I can do this on my own, Lord,” it’s the same as if the bulb in my nightlight has blown. Without God’s light on our paths or my nightlight’s glow in the room, we’re left faltering and maybe falling. Without any power, no light will come. But calling out to God for his enlightenment is like putting a fresh bulb into a nightlight. The path to power reconnects, and new light comes.
And while I’m thinking about it, I’m going to check for a replacement nightlight bulb… just in case.
“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:28)