Standing Near the Light

All I could see through the screen of our newly purchased tent was pure darkness. My young son and I huddled together, searching for sleep after a long day of outdoor activities. Our night under the stars would finish off this mother/son adventure, but the sweltering Texas heat was just too much.

I needed to escape from our two-person unit that was really only big enough for one. I just had a little problem. It was dark out there.

At only 7-years-old, the exhilarating events of the day wore him out. Hiking, horseback riding, and making crafts all took their toll. Now, my camper slept soundly to the noises of nature. I needed a short reprieve in the middle of the night, and thankfully I spotted another boy-mom making her way out of her tent.

My camping skills were lackluster at best, but you’d think I’d at least know to keep a lantern on hand for such an occasion. Unfortunately, I didn’t. So I hustled over close to my fellow scouting mom and stood near her lantern. In the darkness of the woods, I knew the importance of standing near the light.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” John 1:5 NLT

As a young child, I remember pitching a tent in my own backyard with neighborhood friends. I recall holding our flashlights up toward the roof, making shadow animals with our hands. Those long summer nights held such sweet memories of laughter and friendship. We didn’t worry about a thing.

These are the same memories I hoped to pass along to my kids. But things aren’t the same as they were back then.

The older I get, the more I become painfully aware of the turmoil of this world. I sense the shadows of darkness and feel overwhelmed by one disturbing news story after another.

Will it ever end? My mind agonizes. I can’t even fathom why some things happen. But through the darkness and despair I see all around us, God’s Word gives me the answer for the reprieve I need.

When we stay close to the light, we find hope – even in the darkness.

In John chapter 1, the apostle declares a powerful truth which was revealed to us through Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. God is light. The light of our Lord represents all that is good and perfect. No darkness can be in Him or near Him, because of His illuminate glory.

And to keep ourselves from being devastated by the darkness, we must always stay close to the only Source of light.

Though my camping days have come and gone, ten years later my son still enjoys overnight camping fun. And you’ll be pleased to know that I always make sure he has his lantern packed. Because without a doubt, the one lesson I pray he learns from me is the importance of knowing where to find light in the darkness.

As he continues to grow and become an adult, I know he will have the same questions I’ve had. We all have them at some point in our lives. How can all these horrible things be happening? Why is there so much darkness in the world?

But he’ll know the answer to those hard questions can be found in God’s Word, the radiant flame that leads us each and every day.

May we all find comfort in God as we press through the dark and draw near to Him. And may the warmth of His light give us hope.


God Knew We Would Need Grace

“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10 NLT).

 Her husband served the Lord faithfully for years. Now he was gone, and the grief crippled her. To make matters worse, she had no way to pay the bills. Bill collectors kept calling. Would her sons have to leave her to go work off the debt?

She needed a miracle.

The burden the widow carried threatened to crush her under its weight. When things looked hopeless, she went to the man of God for help. Her husband worked with him for years. She knew if anyone could do something, he could. His name was Elisha. He simply asked her, “What do you have in your house?”

All she had was one flask of olive oil – nothing more. But one flask and a willingness to receive was all she needed. Oh, and lots of empty jars.

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