“My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, the will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
For the commandment is a lamp and
the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the
way of life…”
These verses really struck me this morning as I quieted down before a test to get into the word. I’ve been in kind of a dark place for the past week; I found out last Wednesday that my grandmother has cancer. Aside from two years ago, hearing that my Papaw (her husband) had passed away, this was the hardest news I’ve received in a very long time. I was walking back from work to the dorm, and it was a good thing no one was around because I was a mess. Total, complete mess. But God is faithful. That night I had my first India meeting for my December trip. I was able to right a check for the FULL amount. A few days later I heard back from my supervisors and learned that I might be able to go back to my city that I was in 2 summers ago (M-town, if you recall). I will say it again, God is faithful. But you just have to know. It’s been hard. The only place I have wanted to be is home. But even there it would be hard with different family dynamics and such. But I say that all to say, my life has been full of bright spots and then some really, really dark spots. Shadows abound.
And that is why these verses struck me the way they did. It is interesting that when this father encourages his son, he doesn’t advise him that “in the darkness, remember the promises we’ve (or God) has made to you.” Yes, we need to claim words of hope over our lives. But words of hope often, at least in my experience, can keep us stagnant. Not growing, not moving forward. It’s like holding a candle on a dark, windy night. It gets blown out easily, and so we keep having to re-light it. But, no, instead he offers his son two lights when darkness comes: commandments and teachings. Who wants to be told what to do when darkness comes? But we have to be told; it’s too dark for us to see on our own. But the darkness is light in God’s eyes (cf. Psalm 139). They–His commandments and teachings–keep us moving forward. They compel us to act; more importantly, they compel us to act in a way that will glorify God the most. And He needs to remain our focus in hard times. We cannot afford to unplug and wallow in the dark, we must turn on the lights and continue walking forward as God would have us. There’s too many other people in the dark who need the light, the light of the world. We’ve got that light. We must shine. Even when it’s hard and it hurts. I think of Christ in the garden, just hours before his death. I think of Paul in prison cells, writing to encourage and exhort little churches throughout the world. We must remember what He has commanded us to do, and do it. With joy (Neh 8:10–The joy of the LORD is my strength). Remember that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He is always with us, lighting our way, step by step by step. Keep walking, keep shining, keep proclaiming Him above all.
“In Hin (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”