It goes without saying that this year has unfolded a bit differently than we had expected. I know you, like me, had your 2020 planner highlighted and stuffed to the brim with things you were ready to do. Obligated to do, in some cases.
Your planner has probably collected as much dust as mine has.
The thing about planning is that it doesn’t really leave a lot of room for God. That sounds weird, but really. We think about the things we want to do, maybe make a pros and cons list, work through the logistics to make it happen, and then execute. Pretty cut and dry. In most cases, we don’t even pause to ask God if this is the path He wants us to take.
Then we hit a stretch of the journey that we just didn’t see coming.
I’m not just referring to the changes we see related to COVID19. I’m thinking more along the lines of picking out which outfit will be most comfortable for your first appointment with the oncologist. Choosing a headstone. Rebalancing your credits and debits to hopefully squeeze a little more into one bucket or the other. Deciding whether to send your kids to school or keep them home. Deciding whether to send your loved one to the nursing home or try and manage her yourself. Debating changing the date yet again.
It leaves us salty. Feeling like this journey is a little more than we bargained for. We’d love to see ourselves as having it all together and ready to face whatever comes at us. We know that we know that we know that God is in control. Still, we steadfastly steward on this sojourn to…whatever is next. We try to be brave.
My 3-year-old came into the room with a look of absolute despair this week. I furtively glanced around to see if there were any broken toys or smashed walls so I could head off any potential meltdowns that would surely ensue. Not finding anything, I asked him what was wrong. He tearfully stated that he could not find his flashlight. I inquired as to why, exactly, he needed it. He said he wanted to go exploring on the porch, but was afraid it might get too dark. I reassured him that he is brave, and that he could survive the shadows.
As toddler logic would have it, he retorted that he is in fact not brave and does not want to be. This served as a moment to point to the One who guides us in the darkness. I told Grey that when he doesn’t feel brave, he needs to remember that Jesus is with him and that he doesn’t have to be afraid.
Yall, I wish I could say that he absorbed my layered comment and grasped the idea that Jesus is the light of the world and illuminates the paths before us. Instead, he told me that he didn’t know that Jesus is a flashlight.
I love it so much, though. The idea that Jesus is a flashlight is pretty spot on. We may feel as though we don’t know what to do or where to go. It may look as though we are being engulfed by darkness all around us. But thankfully, we have someone to light the way before us. And in my experience, He loves to use the darkness to draw us closer to Him.
We rarely get the whole plan at once. We are seldom able to see farther than just a few steps or a few days ahead. But there’s comfort in knowing that if we follow the light, we will ultimately get to the other side. There will likely still be unforeseen twists and turns. We will probably need to change out the batteries or get a larger flashlight. But we will make it. Don’t forget that the God who spoke light into existence also formed you.
As you trek forward this week, let there be (flash)light.
Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”
2 Samuel 22:29 “You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.”
Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
Isaiah 60:19 “The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”