This is the time of darkness. The time for the end of daylight savings time. The time of driving home from work in the dark. The time when my evening activities suddenly seem to classify as a night life. This is also the time of a much more pervading darkness. The time of accelerating departure and decreasing visibility of truth. The time of stumbling around in the present with little indication of what my future holds, unable even to see in which direction it lies. This is the time that requires headlights.
I am not surprised by either of these darknesses, just impacted by their reality. I knew the days were going to get shorter, but when it actually happened it still felt so abrupt. After a day tucked away in an office I stepped out the door and was startled by the dusk that enveloped me. The desire to hibernate by a fire pressed in upon me as I headed toward home. If only my 21st century life allowed for a night on the couch by the fire! Alas, my plans are liable to take me out into the night, and if I'm so unfortunate, also the rain. Despite my aversion to venturing out into darkness, it feels so familiar. If I'm not out socializing after dusk, then I'm conscious of the spiritual darkness that is always eager to obscure my way. As I peer into the invisible black hole of my future, I clamour in frantic impatience fearing what may lie ahead. Somehow I think that if I could only see what lies ahead it would help me make my decisions now. Yet, the harder I stare into the dark looking for clues, the more aware I become of the difficulty to discern God's will and the more surprised I am at the prevalence of deception and ignorance around and, of all horrors, within me. If only the darkness were as benign as the black of night. But spiritual darkness seems to increase it's assault on truth the harder I try to find it. And so, my journey to my destiny is marked by slow speeds, u-turns, some off-roading, a few crashes, and even some times of sleep behind the wheel. I know where I want to go but I sure don't know how to get there or what getting there is going to involve.
But the inconvenience and uncertainty caused by darkness are not reason enough to cancel my involvement with life. As I crest the hill on my way to a social engagement, I am thankful for my headlights that illuminate the road signs marking the curve ahead. If I need to be out in the dark and the rain, at least I can do it from the comfort of an enclosed motorized vehicle with headlights. Though I only see a few feet ahead of me, it is enough to keep me safe in the moment and point me in right direction. I always have enough light for the most immediate circumstance. What comfort this brings to my finite existence! No matter how treacherous the landscape or how indiscernible my future, I have a guide. He tells me He is "the light of the world: [if I] follow [Him, I] shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) My path is lit by His presence. I do not fear the unknown, neither do I hurry beyond the reach of His beams. I steadily move ahead, directed by the truth He reveals as we journey toward my destination - the home He's preparing for me! What joy, what freedom, what splendor there will be in the radiant presence of my Saviour, Jesus! His light is so intense, His brilliance so pure, His splendor so complete; no shadow of darkness can penetrate! sigh.