Over the past few months, I’ve been pondering the role that uncertainty plays in our lives. Why does God allow us (and sometimes require us) to walk in the dark? I believe it is because the Lord knows that we MUST learn to trust him. Light and darkness must co-exist, just like faith and doubt must co-exist. If we had a perfect knowledge of things, faith would not be necessary.
A few weeks ago, I was in a play at the Lehi Arts Center called “Wait Until Dark.” The main character of the show is a blind woman who is visited by a trio of thugs who take advantage of her blindness to deceive and manipulate her. The show made me extremely grateful for my sight — it is hard to imagine what it would be like to live in a world of complete darkness all the time. Not being able to see would be extremely frustrating and I think that many of us have gone through that metaphorical blindness at periods of time in our lives.
I am an avid runner and jog around my neighborhood every morning with my dog Buddy. As the days have been getting shorter, my morning jogs often start in the dark. I recently went on a trail run in the dark and forgot to bring my headlamp. I was afraid I might get lost or sprain my ankle on the rocky terrain. Then the words of the hymn “Lead Kindly Light” came into my mind:
“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene–one step enough for me.”
The hymn’s author, John Henry Newman, wrote it as a prayer, pleading for the Lord to provide light and direction in a world filled with darkness. The writer doesn’t demand all the answers immediately — he simply implores the Lord for enough light to help him take the next step. This is especially important to remember as we seek for direction in our lives regarding relationship with a friend or family member, our career path, a Church assignment or a difficult trial we are facing.
The third verse continues the author’s prayer and expresses his confidence in the Lord’s power to give us the light and knowledge we so desperately need:
“So long thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!”
Jesus Christ is the Light which guides our path. He illuminates a darkened world. He heals our blindness and provides direction for us, if we are willing to seek for it. It is my hope that as we gaze upon the lights on our Christmas trees this season, that we will remember the kindly Light that dispels fear and uncertainty and fills us with love.