A Light in the Dark
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
FOR little children, darkness can bring about feelings of anxiety and fear. Darkness can harm adults, too, making us lose our way and exposing us to danger.
I know hikers who have been forced to sleep out in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains after the sun quickly set and darkness engulfed any signs of a trail. Those hardy souls who are adventurous enough to brave Alaskaís frigid winters encounter more than their share of darkness. The sun doesnít shine for days at a time, leaving hikers unusually vulnerable and bringing disorder to those huddled safely inside who are desperately trying to figure out if it is morning or evening.
Closer to home, even a brief power outage can turn a familiar room into a potential disaster area full of obstacles that seem to lurch out at your shins or your head. And who among us hasnít experienced the momentary frights that can occur when we are awoken by an unusual noise in the hallway during a pitch-black night?
A missionary I know once told me about a South American tribe whose members traveled only at night. In order to keep from losing their way or falling off of one of their regionís many cliffs, the men and women of this tribe lit tiny candles that they carried on strings. The candles provided enough illumination for only the next step or two, but that was enough.
Our lives often seem like pilgrimages on rough trails winding through dark and dangerous lands. But Godís Word is like a candle that clarifies our path and shows us the way to go.
There are many books in the world, but only one stands supreme. The Bible is Godís matchless revelation to us. Since the invention of the printing press more than five centuries ago, the Bible has been the worldís best-selling book.
For millennia people copied its contents onto papyrus, parchment, and paper so they could share its wise words with others. Scholars and missionaries have translated its message into hundreds of languages. Brave souls have risked their lives to spread its message or even gone to their deaths rather than deny its teachings.
Why have so many people made such a fuss about this one book for such a long, long time? As the verse from Psalm 119 suggests, the Bible is a source of certain light in an often dark and confusing world.
Psalm 119, which is the longest single chapter in the entire Bible, gives plenty of other reasons people throughout the ages have turned to this unique book. Titled ďIn praise of Godís Word,Ē the psalm lists benefits that come from studying and applying the Bible: it helps us walk in accordance with Godís law; it encourages us to remain steadfast and pure; it teaches us to distinguish truth from falsehood and right from wrong; and it strengthens weary souls, bringing hope, comfort, and courage.
George Fox was an English preacher during the seventeenth century and the founder of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. In one of his many sermons, he told his listeners about the light of Godís love: ďI saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness.Ē
God has given us the Bible, and with its illumination, we can confound the darkness of our world.
God, thank you for sharing your Word with us. May its words find a home in my heart and light my way.
Copyright © 2004 by Steve and Lois Rabey.