I'm in my second childhood -- I must have a nightlight. I don't like to feel my way through the dark, especially in an unfamiliar place.
There is no more unfamiliar territory than our future. As much as we plan for tomorrow, we cannot know what will happen one second from now, no less 100 years from now.
It's easier to walk a lighted path than a dark alley. Knowing your destination, being certain you will reach it -- and are on the right path -- makes the journey more manageable.
Walking by the light -- The Bible shows the path of life. It guarantees your arrival at the destination, no matter what. It even sheds light on the path for weary pilgrims. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
Walking in the light -- This requires following the leader with the light. The living Word is the light of life: Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
Walking as the light -- Walking in the light qualifies one to be a light-bearer. We once toured a local cavern by lantern light. The leader led the way by lamp, while we carried smaller lights that illuminated our way, allowing others to follow like ducklings. Despite the hazards presented by various tunnels, ledges, and cavities, the leader knew the way and guaranteed we would safely make our way out -- if we followed her light. There were stumbling blocks along the way -- as well as magnificent sights -- that could only be seen in the light.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden . . . In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14, 16). "[F]or at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). If we follow the light of the example of Christ, we produce magnificent works that shine to God's glory.
While in Israel, my professor suggested we catch the sunrise over Mt. Arbel in Galilee. It consists of magnificent sheer cliffs overlooking the Sea of Galilee, which must be climbed along the back to reach the edge. Since sunrise is early and the trip from the hotel was long, I reserved a cab for 3a.m. to take me there. Upon arrival, I had two concerns to overcome: I guaranteed the cab's return by refusing to pay the driver until he picked me up later, and the area was pitch black. The site was populated by a few little homes filled with sleeping, unconcerned residents. As the headlights faded away, fear took residence in my heart. I was unfamiliar with the territory and half-asleep. I heard animals hooting and hollering and howling in the distance (it was still too early and dark for roosters, but they came out in force later!). I heard water flowing nearby, so I assumed there was a 12-mile-wide river in front of me. I was afraid to move, so I sat down and waited for some light.
As the locals woke up and drove to work, and the sun began to rise, I saw the tiny stream in front of me, and the outline of my destination, Mt. Arbel. I made my way up the spine and sat at the edge, just in time to witness the promised sunrise. Fantastic, and worth the trip!
I had to wait for the light to see the destination and the magnificent sights. The same is true for life: only in Christ can we enjoy life to the full and be assured of a magnificent destination!