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“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105


Can you think back on a time where you were in desperate need of a flashlight?

Maybe it was while trying to find something during a power outage, stumbling to find your way to the bathroom on a camping trip, or attempting a newborn feeding in utter darkness. For me, it was late at night deep in the Central American rainforest while face to face with a large snake that I really hoped was alone and not poisonous. It was raining, we had forgotten our flashlight, and right before the single candle lighting the trail was extinguished by the rain I saw the large, long snake rise up to face me. Then, with a little puff of smoke the candle was out and we were in complete darkness.

Yes, I was in very desperate need of a flashlight.

Now, jungle darkness is very different from any darkness I had experienced before. With the thick rainforest canopy overhead, not even light from a full moon could reach the jungle floor. There have been few moments in my life as frightening as that one and, when that little candle went out, I knew I was in a dangerous situation. Without a flashlight, there was no way for me to see the path, grasp my surroundings, or know where the snake was.

Earlier in the day our guide had kindly warned us of the perils of the jungle. Jaguars were known to frequent the area and two types of snakes called this section of rainforest home: boa constrictors and fer-de-lance snakes. Boa constrictors generally don’t pose much threat to humans (or at least that’s what they told me), but the fer-de-lance is one of the deadliest snakes in the world. You can even see one for yourself in the poisonous snake exhibit at the Toledo Zoo. Although a life flight helicopter from the nearest city could be called into our camp in an emergency, being bitten by a fer-de-lance this deep in the jungle could mean losing a limb or your life.

So, standing there in sheer darkness, I knew I was in desperate need of a flashlight. 

It really was a matter of life and death.

 

Lighting the Path

Whether on a camping trip or deep in the Central American rainforest at night, anyone who has ever been in need of a flashlight knows what a comfort and relief it is to finally find a light to show the way. A light helps us see where we are going. It helps us avoid perils in the path, whether a tiny (yet surprisingly painful) lego, uneven ground, or even a poisonous snake. A light brings comfort and safety on our journey and helps us stay on our path.

The Word tells us the importance of staying on the right path, on His path:

 “You will make known to me the path of life…”
Psalm 16:11

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
Matthew 7:14

 

 

How good is our God to share with us what it looks like to walk in His ways and stay true to His path. God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119).  It shows us where to step to stay on the path as well as when we have begun to wander. It is a comfort. It is protection.
But we often don’t treat it this way.

We (myself included!) easily and often treat the Word as just another task in our day. A thing we know is important but often do not make time for. It is all too easy to let the routines and tasks of daily life interfere, and we have so many explanations as to why we don’t read our Bibles as often as we would like or know we should:
-the kids woke up early
-I was sick
-I was tired
-I didn’t feel like reading
-I had an early meeting
-I had an early commitment that day

Of course we do have daily tasks and responsibilities we need to take care of. However, does our heart truly echo the words of the psalmist in Psalm 119:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

In the jungle, there was nothing I wanted more desperately than a light. How much greater and more important a light is the Word of God, and yet I often don’t long for His Word. In the jungle, I knew I was in danger by not having a lamp to light my path. Yet how much greater danger we face spiritually when we neglect to read the Bible and neglect to let His Word light and direct our paths.

Do you treat God’s Word like it truly is a lamp to your feet?
Like a light to your path?

 

A Guiding Light

After what felt like an eternity of waiting on that dark rainforest path, I saw something up ahead in the distance: a light. It was the flashlight of a jungle guide walking back to his tent. The snake was startled by the light and slithered off into the trees. The guide assured me that it was just a boa constrictor (the one and only time in my life I would ever find the words “boa constrictor” reassuring). He kindly gave me his extra flashlight and led my husband and I to our cabin. What a comfort, a relief, to have a light on our path and a guide to help us walk it.

Praise God for His Word to light our path and the Spirit to help us walk it.

In love,
Jackie

Jackie Long

Author Jackie Long

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