105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
The Living Bible translation: 105 Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.
I must say…reading the Bible in complete darkness while juggling a flashlight in hand might be my new favorite thing! Let’s start from the beginning. I live in southwest Louisiana where our entire community was not simply smacked but rather steam-rolled by hurricane Laura one week ago. While many were sleeping or carrying on with their day-to-day activities across the globe, the residents of southwest Louisiana were witnessing deep-rooted trees with long history slowly falling to the ground and some on top of homes in the middle of the night. The moonlight struck the fierce winds in almost a strobe-like cadence. The sights were both frightening and hypnotizing. Hundreds of thousands are now left with complete destruction: electricity, water, shelter, and food.
So…I sit here, in the middle of my kitchen, reading my Bible where the flashlight leads. I started reading The One Year Bible many months ago; yet, things are different now. I’ve lost the conveniences of lights, air-conditioning, resources, and time. The only thing I can hear is the roar of generators as the darkness battles against all the senses. Based on our recent events, the Bible has become more real to me than anything else in my life. My most recent reading passage brought me across Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I literally broke down!
You see, I could only read as the flashlight led. I needed to see this – we all do. So many promises rushed into my mind blanketing my thoughts like a warm embrace. What overwhelmed me the most was basking in the Word as it “came to light.” Normally when we read, our brains are able to anticipate words (i.e., language) and look ahead for comprehension and contextual clues if you will. This is how we put sentences and paragraphs together for understanding.
Yet, while reading in complete darkness with a flashlight, I realized this was much harder. I simply couldn’t look ahead; I couldn’t anticipate what was next. I had to rely on what I could see in that very moment – Ah! What life application! Psalm 119:105 says it very clearly, “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” It IS that simple. While I finished reading for that evening, I was also reminded that while things around me/us appear to be in utter chaos, God is truly in control! He is truly with us. The loss of my conveniences do not compare to those around the world.
~I’m reminded of families in southeast Asia learning to read while sitting on dirt floors just wishing they had indoor plumbing and electricity.
~I’m reminded of African children walking miles to school while carrying water to and from struggling to survive.
~I’m reminded of missionaries in war-torn Middle Eastern countries sacrificing their lives to bring the Good News to a thirsty population.
~I’m reminded of the small communities along the Amazon River who fight flood waters seasonally and have to rebuild often.
I know we do not have to look very far to be reminded of our many blessings. However, as we rebuild in southwest Louisiana, I do pray that we never forget that God is with us just as it was illuminated in Joshua 1:9. We will rebuild stronger than before because God is our Banner – Jehovah Nissi – and our cornerstone. May God bless those who have lost so much and are dealing with the aftermath. May He open our eyes to the hurting and may God be glorified in the serving.