One of my very favorite verses in God’s Word is about (what else?) illumination. It is found in Psalm 119:105….
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
As I look to this verse again today, I thought about several things in a different light than I had before. Isn’t it wonderful how God’s Word can do that for us? We can never fully exhaust all that it can teach us in life. This is yet another example of the utter majesty of our Lord and the love He has for us. His inspired Word fills us up according to where we are at in the moment, and where He wishes to guide and lead us. We can then turn back to that very same passage or verse at another time in life, and apply it to a completely different aspect of our circumstances or our spiritual growth. It never stops nourishing us. It continually ministers to us no matter how short or how long the passage happens to be.
Today I think of three things about this verse and how I can use that to move forward from where I am at.
The first is that this verse is actually about God’s Word itself. “Your word” is referencing the Word of the Lord, which is the entire Bible. The Bible is the way our Lord speaks to us. In it, He provides us with encouragement, guidance, direction, solace, commandments by which to live, and a knowledge of who He truly is. If we have any desire at all to know God, it would serve us well to spend time with Him in His Holy Word.
That “Word” is our primary source of light in this world. The marriage of the Word of God and prayer and time spent in His presence is a force to be reckoned with for certain. It will carry us through this life and on to eternity. It will help us to show His love towards others. And it will keep us on the right path, if we heed His voice as it lifts out of the pages we read and lodges itself into our hearts and minds. We can carry it with us anywhere. How awesome the Word of the Lord is!
Secondly, I think about the “lamp” and the “light” mentioned here. Both, in their simplicity, help us to visualize something that we all truly need in our lives – clear guidance and direction. I could expand on the importance of following the light of God versus that which is dark forever, but today I am thinking about it in it’s simplest form. For example, I am in a place in life right now where there are some uncertainties about just where my feet are actually taking me career-wise and ministry-wise. A lot may change, or it may not, but God has been prodding me to walk on (sometimes it feels more like shuffling) and start to turn the doorknobs of the doors I see along the way.
It is crucial right now that I have His light to help me see where I am going…to at least be able to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. And although I don’t see yet where the path I am on is leading, He is providing enough light for me go forward. I am so very thankful for this. Although I have tendencies to prefer to sprint, I must remember that trodding along is still far better than being bound up and completely immobile. God knows how fast (or slow) I should go.
Finally, I am thinking a lot today about the “path” in general. In the wider scope of things, we are on a lot of individual paths in our lives, yet we are on one overall spiritual path as well. Sometimes (right now in my life is one of those “sometimes”) I wish the path were broader – easier to follow – had a little breathing room for me to stretch out my arms, maybe lounge around under a nice and shady tree and have picnic – play some frisbee – you get the picture. It can be so hard at times to only have just enough light to see my feet and where the next step should be.
We like to run around like children and have wide, open spaces in which to play. But the path of the Lord is not always like that. More often than not, it is a narrow one. And there is a lot to be thankful for if we really look at that for what it truly means – if we are willing to see that for what it is and the blessings it entails. Staying on a narrow path helps to prevent us from getting ahead of ourselves and what the Lord’s will for us may be. It keeps us focused and assists us in avoiding “destruction” found in all the bright and shiny things that catch our eye on the periphery of the pathway. It prevents us from wandering aimlessly, and instead, blesses us with a journey spent in the company of our Savior.
We shouldn’t really be surprised about the fact that this path isn’t an open playground. God tells us Himself in Matthew 7:13-14 about the difficulty we will face following the narrow route in life…..
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
But although He tells us all about this in His Word, I often still find myself surprised by it. And then God fills me with the voice of the Holy Spirit and reassures me that it will be okay. He tells me that I can count my blessings if I feel like the walls are closing in on me a bit. He reminds me that although this is “difficult” and unpleasant right now, that it does indeed lead to “life” – and I don’t mean the free-roaming, wide open-spaces-type of life we could experience here on earth. I mean eternal life with Him, and a one that is so glorious that we cannot even begin to imagine it and do it any justice at all.
So for now, I will take it as a blessing that our Lord even provided me with a lamp at all with which to trudge through. I will be grateful that he gave me feet with which to travel and opened up a pathway for me to follow. I will thank Him abundantly for giving me His Word and the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ to carry me through and light the way. And if I have to stop and catch my breath once in a while, I know He will pick me up in His loving arms and carry me. For who other than Jesus Christ Himself knows what it is like to walk along the narrow path in an earthly life that shows little sign of God’s light and illumination? Who better than He to commune with inside of that very darkness. Spending time in His presence is the only true light that we have, my friends. And I choose to hold onto it with everything that I have. I will not let it go out. I will guard it with my life.
I think of the children’s song that will always ring through my ears as long as I walk this narrow path here on earth – and I realize that it’s up to me to do my best to keep His light from going out in relation to my own life and what I display to others along the way.
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m Gonna let it shine
Gonna let it shine
Shine on, my “lamp unto my feet.” Shine on, oh “light unto my path.” Shine on, oh Jesus, my wonderful and mighty Savior. Shine on.