You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29 New International Version (NIV)
At the beginning of each year, God gives me a theme word. This is a word that I apply to everything I’m going to do in the next twelve months. This year’s word was ‘unencumbered.’ Ironically, one of the first things I encountered this year was an illness that sidelined me for the better part of six weeks. In fact, I’m still not 100% healed from the illness, but at least I believe the worst of it is behind me. The first six weeks of 2017, I felt anything but unencumbered and at times, I wasn’t sure He had anything left for me to do at all. I was slowly, but surely, being depleted of all hope. One of the major goals that I had set was becoming more and more elusive as the medications I was on caused me to gain weight when I was in fact, trying to lose. Needless to say, by the time I was feeling better, I wasn’t sure which way was up anymore. I was feeling extremely encumbered and very much in the dark.
They say the harder we pray and the more we attempt to shine the light that God has placed in us, the harder the devil works to extinguish it. This has been proven in my life time and time again. Every time I have gained any momentum toward the vision that God has placed in my heart, there has been a major setback. The most obvious of these occurred even before I was fully walking with God again. For several years in my marriage, my now ex-husband and I were trying to have more children. I had miscarried one time before our daughter was born, so when I got pregnant again about a year after she was born we were hoping everything would be okay. Unfortunately, I miscarried early on. But we tried again….and again…and again. Each time, I would get further into the pregnancy and each time, I would lose the baby. By the fifth miscarriage, I was so broken that my depression and anxiety threatened to overtake me. I also hadn’t realized that after my daughter was born, I suffered with post-partum depression. I thought it was just me being me. I had always had issues with depression and I figured it was just more of the same misery I had been carrying for most of my life. Even though it felt different, I just chalked it up to my tendency to be depressed. But this is where I found God again. There, in the darkness and pain of all that loss.
The thing about hitting bottom is that when we finally reach the point of all despair we really only have one choice. That choice is to pick ourselves up and find a way out of the darkness. Some find a glimmer of light here and there and they allow that to sustain them, but that glimmer only serves you for so long. You find yourself right back at the bottom wondering why you can’t fix it. But there is something very different about the light that God provides. When we seek Him, we find something that won’t let darkness overtake us again. When we are truly trying to develop our relationship with Him, He carries the light. The more we let Him in, the more the light lives within us. If we only seek Him superficially, we only get the most superficial part of the light. It is much like the difference between a light fixture in your home and a small flashlight. When the light is installed in you home, it brings light to a much larger area than that of a small flashlight.
Imagine if all you had to work with in your house was a handheld flashlight that you carried from room to room. Some of us go through life just like that. We carry the smallest possible source of light with us in hopes that it will somehow illuminate every area of our lives. Most of the time, it leaves us vulnerable to attacks from things we simply cannot see in the darkness. The solution: We need a bigger light. We need a brighter light. We need a more constant light. Only then will we be able to see what we need to see to operate in the fullness of God.
It may seem like a silly analogy, but it really makes sense. Where there is darkness, we stumble. Simply put, when we can’t see well or at all, we are at risk of getting hurt. There are those who swear that light doesn’t make a difference. They don’t care if they get hurt and they don’t seem to care if they hurt others while operating in that “blindness.” Darkness, for them, hides all of their flaws. It keeps people from seeing anything that they don’t want others to see in them. But what they are forgetting is that it also keeps others from seeing what’s good about them. And it keeps them from seeing what is good about everyone and everything else. How much light are you letting in? Can you see everything you need to see? Or are you still stumbling over things that are hidden from your sight? I challenge you to turn on the light. You won’t need any extra bulbs and it’s not going to drive your electric bill up. All you need to do is pray to God to light the way. He is your source and His light is everlasting and full of power. And in it, you will be able to live unencumbered.
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.
Isaiah 60:19 New International Version (NIV)