The headlights behind me, the streetlights above me – both soon fade away as I bike onto the path. The path that follows the railroad tracks. The path that will lead me home. The heat holds in my boots keeping my feet warm enough. I’m not far from home, I remind myself. My fingers though feel the bitter cold and vie for my complete attention and even tempt me to stop. But I’m not far from home. Though enveloped in darkness, I press on.
The gray haze overhead shifts into a deep black canvas, with the stars flung ever so precisely upon it. Diamonds against velvet, I’ve heard it described. Even cold fingers take second place to the brilliance above me. Orion is clear once again, hopping on one foot as the 3 stars of his belt twinkle at a slant.
The cold is invigorating, and even in the darkness, radiant light hangs above me. I’m not frightened as I bike along the path that follows the railroad tracks. The path that will lead me home.
Don’t forget in the dark what you know to be true in the light.
I first heard this while I was studying abroad at Capernwray Hall. I’m not sure who originally coined the phrase, but it has stuck with me, bringing both encouragement and conviction over the years.
As my bike ride home a few nights ago so keenly reminded me, the darkness, as pervasive as it may be, doesn’t obliterate the light. The red and white car lights still shine brightly as I approach a busy crossroad. I catch the glow of kitchen lights just off the path. And then the stars. Their twinkling light would not be visible if not for the night sky backdrop.
So much light was still present even in the dark. Piercing light, glowing light, twinkling light.
Don’t forget what you know to be true. Don’t forget Whom you know to be true. Even in the dark.
For even in the dark, Jesus is still present with me. Even in the dark, He is spreading light on my path. Indeed, His “word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Even in the dark, He is speaking to me.
The dominating gloom and gray of these January days (at least in the Midwest) have me pressing in a bit more to the light of His Word, longing to hear His voice anew. On these winter days, when the light fades fast, it’s easy to stay cooped up physically but also to remain in a place of comfort spiritually. Settled into a winter lull, we are content to hibernate till spring arrives, when the realities of warmth and hope and new life are far more tangible.
But as tempting as it is to “hold out” till springtime, to wait for the celebration of Easter to lift our weary spirits again, I have to believe that Christ wants to break through the dark days and continue to breathe life and hope into me with His Word. His Word which is forever alive and active, Hebrews says, penetrating “even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) I have to believe that Christ still desires communion with me in prayer, as Paul encourages in I Thessalonians. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thank in all circumstances; for this God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:16-18) As January passes and rolls into February and March – the months of long nights and cold days – I don’t want to forget what I know to be true. I don’t want to forget the One who remains true, even on the darkest days.
I want to leave you with a few verses I wrote last week ~ it is a brief poem that expresses my heart for myself and for you as we continue through these winter days. Even in the dark, He is with us. Even in the dark, He is speaking to us. May we have ears to hear and hearts open to receive from Him.
even in the dark
when the candles, lamps and lights
are necessary sooner
the darkness creeps in quicker
and lingers in gloomy gray through the day.
when hearts imitate the dark so readily and lay heavy and still.
hearts heavy with hope
for light that lasts longer.
so quiet and still
let us lean in.
yes, even with heavy hopeful hearts
let us lean in
to hear You speak
to hear You say
You’re still here
with us. Emmanuel is still
this time of year
You’re still speaking
and we’re still