Turn on the Light

There was a picture that went around on social media years ago of a snake wrapped around a toilet, a big snake. Supposedly it had come in through or around the plumbing and made itself at home. In the middle of the night the owner went to the bathroom and happened to turn on the light to find the snake before they sat down. I vowed to always turn on the light. This week I broke that vow.

Sunday night I was trying to start the week off right, so I cleaned up the kitchen, turned on the dishwasher and put away some laundry. Feeling pretty good about things, I grabbed a plastic bag to go clean out the litter boxes for the evening. One of the boxes is in the corner of my office (aka the cat’s room). I didn’t bother to turn on the light because I could see well enough by the light of the computer, or so I thought. I took two steps in and hit something slick and my foot slid out from under me and I fell to my knee, the same knee I fell on back in July. I got up and turned on the light and discovered my geriatric cat with IBS had gotten sick (mostly fluid) and I didn’t hear him because of the dishwasher noise. An ice pack, ibuprofen and prayer later, I thankfully had no real injuries, but I still had to get up and go clean up the mess.

The thought came to me that if I had only turned on the light, then I would have seen the danger before I stepped in it. The same is true spiritually. If we turn on the light, God’s Word, His Holy Spirit will alert us to impending danger so that we can avoid it.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:16

My Bible reading for the day was James 5:16. When I fell, I was worried I had caused even more injury to my knee after I had just regained pain free use of it. I messaged someone I knew would pray and asked for prayer that my knee would not have a serious injury because I had a lot of obligations that needed my attention that week.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

My Bible reading the next day was Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. God has a sense of humor and great timing. I may have been physically alone when I fell, but I was not alone. The Holy Spirit was right there with me, and I had another believer willing to pray for me. I also had these verses of scripture to encourage me that came at just the right time to encourage me and lift me up.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalms 119:105

The Word of God is a light that we need to keep turned on. We don’t have to worry about a power bill because it has a never ending source of perpetual power. It is always on, but we do have some control of the on/off switch. We can turn it off and sit in the dark, or we can turn it on by opening the scripture and letting it guide us. When we study the Word daily, it will come to our minds just when we need it most.

So as we start each day, it is a good idea to start with the Word of God so that He can guide us through the twists and turns of this world gone crazy. Oh, and don’t forget to turn on the light. It could save you from slipping and falling or from really big snakes in the bathroom.

The Next Step

I love maps, especially when I am going on a trip. I love to look at all the possible routes, and then highlight the way I want to go with a highlighter, old school or electronic. I like to decide where I am going to eat along the way or any stops I want to make. I am a planner at heart, and I like to plan way in advance. However, as Hemingway pointed out, “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray” (John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men).

One year my sister, a friend, and I went on a tour of New England. My sister had plotted out places to eat based on a book of little known restaurants. Every place we had chosen was closed for repairs, closed for the season, or just closed. We then had to scramble for alternatives, which often turned out to be some of the highlights of our trip. Most of them we came upon almost by accident in the course of our journey. We could have missed some great experiences and great food if we had been looking too far ahead.

Currently, the world is in an uproar with the uproar topic changing on an almost hourly basis. People are trying to make long-term plans for the future, but circumstances make that almost impossible. This is unsettling, I admit, but God sees the big picture even when we can’t see a mile ahead. Maybe He has something special to show us that He doesn’t want us to miss.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

(Psalm 119: 105)

Many people have memorized this verse. It was part of our pledge to the Bible that we said every year at Vacation Bible School. But have you thought about what it means? If you have ever used a lamp to walk in the woods at night, or a flashlight for that matter, how far can you see? Basically, you can see a few steps in front of you. The destination is usually shrouded in darkness and the stopping points ahead are in the shadows at best. You have to pay attention to where you are and take it one step at a time.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”

(Proverbs 16:9)

God wants us to trust Him to take care of the future and to lead us in the right paths along the journey. They are not always the paths we would have chosen, but they are always the best paths. Sometimes the path is full of ruts and potholes, and we wonder what in the world could be waiting at the end to make the journey worthwhile. Yet, when we look back, we often find that those are the paths to the greatest blessings.

So, what do we do when we can’t plan for the future? We take the next right step. God shines his light onto the path through His Word and the Holy Spirit to show us the next step. Once we move, the light will shine on the next step. While we are praying for God to show us the way to go and lamenting that we aren’t getting an answer, it may be that He has already shown us the next step and is merely waiting for us to move forward. Ask yourself: What is the next right step? Then take it and watch what God will do.