If you’ve ever driven through unfamiliar territory on an empty tank at night, you know the gnawing feeling of fear rising from the pit of your stomach as the fuel gauge drops below empty. You probably also recognize the flush of relief when you spot a gas station sign in the dark ushering you to safety and refreshment. Gliding into the light from out of the darkness, you sigh smiling to yourself that you’ve made it even if, for some odd reason, a gas station is not your final destination. It’s the comfort, the encouragement, the opportunity to take a break from the stress of uncertainty that makes your giddy gratefulness possible. When was the last time you looked to the Lord in giddy gratefulness for lighting your way?
We may feel like we are suffering the trials of Job, but even he said, “when his lamp shone on my head, and by his light, I walked through darkness!”(Job 29:3) and was able to rejoice because, “God has delivered me from going down to the pit, and I shall live to enjoy the light of life.” (Job 33:28 ) The way through the dark is weary. At times you may feel that you will fail but once gathered up in Jesus’ light, He renews your spirit and often your body so that you have the strength to go on. But do we praise Him for the strength he has provided? We ask for it, but do we praise Him for it? David, a man after God’s own heart, praised Him…a lot. In fact, he wrote songs of praise and adoration throughout his life.
The Psalms are full of praise for God’s light:
Psalm 18:28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 43:3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.
Psalm 56:13 For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.
Psalm 76:4 You are radiant with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.
Am I this thrilled when I find reprieve from the dark times in my life? Am I writing songs and poetry of praise? Have I remembered to praise Him for all he has provided? Or, am I still stuck looking at the shadows?
Sometimes I need to be reminded that God has not left me alone in the dark. I need to be reminded that the light of Jesus can overcome all things as John tells us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it(1:5),” or when he recounts the Lord’s words in chapter 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” Or, later, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness(12:46).”
Many of us become so used to the troubles of our lives that we forget that we are, in fact, victorious. Making it to the gas station before you run out of gas but still stressing out that you won’t make it is not only pointless, it’s destructive. Focusing on what you were saved from or ushered through prevents you from moving ahead in the light. Almost like trying to find your way in the pitch black woods pointing the flashlight behind you. Yet, many of us get stuck in our habits and forget we have been saved.
I’m very thankful that even when I forget that He has already lead me through the darkness, and will continue to lead me out of the dark times, the Bible repeatedly reminds me. Ephesians 5:8 exhorts us not simply to remember this but to live it, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5 reminds us that we no longer belong in the darkness, “You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” And, 1 Peter 2:9 sums it all up by explaining that, “[We] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Let’s remember to walk IN the light and praise Him for all he has done.