Here's an article that talks about how the distraction of the closer lights blocks the view of the lights of heaven. Think about that - your phone light, street light and others - block your view of the heavenly bodies that inspired and guided people for generations. You can't navigate by the stars or understand their courses because you can't even see them! We are generations not inspired by the beauty of the stars. What are we missing?
There are also the health issues that come up because we don't follow the day and night pattern of life. I am SO guilty of this issue. Sleep and rest are gifts and we mess with them because we have artificial light available to us.
As you read through the Bible you often read about thankfulness for the morning (or read children's prayers from bygone years). That's because the night was truly scary! Today this darkness is symbolized by the "dark alley" that we are told NEVER to take. All of night was a dark alley - not just one poorly lit spot! This is one reason why the Jewish day started in the evening - because they asked for God to keep them safe until morning. This was a true concern and real prayer. Today it sounds like a platitude - of course we'll be up in the morning. We don't fear the night. (Not that we want to live in fear - but it shows how different our world is today.)
I want to talk about one passage in particular. Many of you are probably familiar with it (maybe you have the Amy Grant version playing in your head if you are of a certain age . . .)
Thy word is a lamp onto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105
When we read that verse we feel like it is limiting. God, where are the floodlights? We want to see the whole path and beyond. It seems like God is not giving us enough with just a light unto our feet. Have you camped with flashlights? We are so used to a fully illuminated world - day and night -that we feel a bit unsafe with just our flashlight. However, this passage meant the EXACT opposite of that to people prior to last century. Most of humanity has lived by a candle or torch - not full illumination. In their lives, having enough light for the path in front of you was comfort and care. That was walking in safety.
Having light all around us has made us think that we constantly need to see the "whole picture" to be safe. NO! We need to see the next step and have someone we trust leading us to be safe. It is scary to walk the path with just a small light when you are used to a fully lit world. However, if you are always in a fully lit world it is MUCH harder to see the one true light - the one that leads you on the path you should be going. Every path looks like a possibility - instead of sticking to the path as outlined. We are overwhelmed by options and then wonder why we are tired, confused and uncertain.
In our lit up world we believe that we can "see" more, but often, our more, is merely distraction. We can't follow well because we can't focus on the true light in the midst of so many. We don't want to walk in darkness because it is scary and FOMO. We feel like God isn't giving us enough, instead of, receiving the comfort of having a guiding light. Our well lighted world actually deprives us of the comfort of a trusted light.
We also think that in order to be a "light" to somebody we must light up the whole room for them. We don't trust in the relief that a small flickering flame brings into a dark place. Light is meant to guide - whether stars or candle - it is only in this past century that it was an option to illumine all things. Lending our light to help with the next step is enough. That allows us to walk the path with them!
Do you use light well?
Are you following His light - even if it seems like only the next step is illumined?
Does fear dominate because you feel like you don't have enough light or need to see the whole picture to take the next step?
Is there someone that you need to bring your candle to so that they can take the next step?
As we experience more darkness this winter, I challenge you to think about how light was used for centuries and the lessons that it taught and comfort that it brought.