Dad always wanted lots of light for reading in our old farmhouse. There were never enough and they were never bright enough. I remember well his hand, freckled with age spots as he settled into his old blue recliner. He reached up to the floor lamp and turned the little black switch. It flooded brightness on his personal throne. Woe to anyone else who attempted to sit there. I remember how white the pages of his big black leathered Bible shone, and his precise positioning to see its words.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 (NIV)
The Psalmist penned this chapter, the longest in the Bible, distressed and afflicted. He wrote in some personal dark space of time, but he knew where to look for light.
We had a bird in our basement a few weeks ago. Obviously not the brightest bulb in his nest, he soloed into the darkest spot in our home. Every time we turned the light on down there he got more confused. So we opened the door and made everything else dark. He headed for the light. A little disoriented, and a little bruised, sunshine streamed in from the doorway which led him to safety.
The “entrance” some translations read of God’s “utterances” illuminates our “understanding.”
The past year has us a bit disoriented coming into a new year, a little bruised and a bit uncertain. If we turn around and look back, a dark haze lingers, shadowing our 2020 hindsight. Perhaps even confusing just a bit our forward gaze.
It is a common mistake I make, and maybe you do as well, to look to all sorts of things, a new year, fresh ideas, debates, discussions, plans, books, or leaders for a glimpse of light, a dawning of hope. When what I need first and foremost is the unfolding of God’s purest form of speaking to me.
We, who belong to Jesus, need to be persistent readers of the Bible.
Where to start? If it seems overwhelming and you aren’t sure how to begin, find someone who does. Try reading through the Bible in a year plan, or a book of the Bible at a time. I love going through Psalms and Proverbs, plus chapter in the Old Testament book by book and one in the New
Similar to other relationships, the more we get to know someone, the deeper becomes our connection. Value what the Bible itself has to say above any other words. Listen closely. Anchor your spiritual walk in its truth.
While the pandemic experience and its effects continue to ripple into a different year, the Word brings light into the prevalent darkness of fear and uncertainty.
We, who bear the name of Christ, desperately need discernment. Emotions drive and toss, strong opinions make gods of ideas and opinions, drawing followers without enlightenment. Unfolding God’s Word day by day clears 2020 hindsight and renews 2021 vision.
In my own backward reflection, I remember that bright light shining on my dad’s Bible. I cherish the memory of his worn hands smoothing the thin paper in front of him, unfolding words like precious treasure. Persistently reading.