Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Just Enough Light

I’m at the beach on vacation this week with my kids and their two friends. Brigantine Beach is a lovely little town, hidden in the giant shadow of bawdy and obnoxious Atlantic City. So many people I’ve spoken with have never even heard of Brigantine Beach, and that’s fine by me. It’s quaint, it’s quiet, it’s friendly, it’s like the town that time forgot; you can actually go out somewhere for any length of time, leave your doors unlocked and windows open and come back to find nothing tampered with. We’ve been vacationing here for 8 years and I love this place.

I’ve done some dumb things here over the years. Once, I locked my keys in the car while I was at the Laundromat around the corner and had to pay a ridiculous amount of money to the garage across the street from it to come get them out. Another time, I ‘forgot’ to drink plenty of water on a very hot day while hanging out at the beach with my kids and a dear friend of mine, and wound up dehydrated, causing my one foot to cramp so severely that the beach EMTs had to drive over to our blanket, pick me up, place me in their vehicle and escort me back to the house. I’m not sure who was more mortified…me or my teenage son and daughter!

Tonight, while my kids and their friends took a walk over to the nearby park to play some tennis, I decided to stroll down to the beach by myself. I love to stand by the water with my feet in the cool, wet sand and watch and listen to the waves breaking. To me, there’s so much of God’s beauty and power and majesty in them, and God‘s presence seems so very intense there. When I started off, it wasn’t dark yet -- the sky still was still alight with some brilliant streaks of purple, pink and orange.

I walked quite a ways down from where I entered, lost in my thoughts and enjoying the deliciousness of being alone on the beach, so I didn’t really notice just how dark it had become until I turned away from the waves and looked towards the shore. I could see only a few lights from some houses in the distance. There was no shining full or even half moon to help illuminate my way back. My cell phone was useless, barely giving off enough light for me to see the hand I was holding it in. And over the years, my night vision seems to have gotten worse and worse. For a moment or two, I was gripped by anxiety and a small bit of fear, wondering how in the world I was going to find my way to the path through the dunes and to the street, it was THAT dark. I imagined my kids and their friends coming back to an empty house and calling me on my cell, only to be told, “Mom’s lost on the beach!” Ahh yes, another mortifying experience to add to the list.

I whispered out loud, “Jesus, this place is so beautiful, but PLEASE GET ME OUT.” I was trusting Him to guide me back. I looked down onto the sand and realized there was just enough light there for me to take the next step…and another…and another. I looked towards where I had come from earlier, but still saw nothing but pitch black darkness in the distance ahead. I could only see what was directly in front of me, and I was trusting in Jesus for each and every slow and steady step. I plodded along slowly and carefully, eventually making it off the beach.

As I headed home down a well lit street, I thought about how this little scenario related to my life. There have been times in my past where the destination ahead looked extremely dark, hopeless and foreboding. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel seemed nonexistent, and I had no idea how I was going to make it from Point A to Point B. And sometimes, I wasn’t all that certain there even WAS a Point B. Fear, doubt and anxiety danced around me like some demented playmates, taunting me loudly. I’m currently journeying down another one of these paths. A simple phone call earlier in the day brought some disheartening news and the future of someone close to me may be in for an unexpected and unwelcome change. After the phone call ended, I just lowered my head and burst into tears. Right now, it looks pretty dark and ominous up ahead, and I must admit, I‘m anxious and somewhat afraid. Yet through all of these kinds of moments and seasons, Jesus reminds me that I don’t need to be anxious or worried or afraid or even doubtful about anything. No matter how dark it looks, He simply asks me to cry out to Him and to trust Him to give me just enough light for the next step I am to take.

Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On
Sometimes only the step I’m on,
or the very next one ahead,
is all that is illuminated for me,
God gives just the amount of light I need
for the exact moment I need it.

At those times I walk in surrender to faith,
unable to see the future
and not fully comprehending the past.

And because it is God who has given me
what light I have,
I know I must reject the fear and
doubt that threaten to overtake me.

I must determine to be content where
I am, and allow God to get me where I
need to go.
I walk forward,
one step at a time,
fully trusting that
the light God sheds
is absolutely sufficient.

1 comment:

  1. Truly we are kindred spirits Pam. As you described the scene in front of the water I was there, feet in the damp sand, smelling the salt air, facing the waves exhilarated by their power and feeling the immensity of God. What an awesome picture you've painted here. And perhaps it's best when we walk just one step at a time. When we see clearly ahead, we tend to trust more in ourselves and our abilities than lean wholly and fully on God to lead us on. Awesome.


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