I live out in the country so there aren’t a lot of people around me. My closest neighbor is a quarter of a mile away. When my family first moved out to this crazy old farm, though, we had a lot of trouble with the electric company. It wasn’t that they were unpleasant. It was just difficult to get the electric utilities set up because everything was rural. And even after we got everything set up, it wasn’t reliable.
I can remember how we had to stock our basement cellar full of candles in expectation of all the power outages that were going to occur. It didn’t matter what time of year it was. The power would just go out.
In the summertime, it wasn’t such a bad problem. We kept water in jugs to drink and water in a huge tank to flush the toilet with. Since our well pump is electric in the house, when the power goes out, that means no water.
The times when the power went out in the winter, though — that was difficult. No heat in the wintertime doesn’t make for a very pleasant evening. I remember one time when the power went out during a bad winter storm. We have a wood stove in the basement, and it’s the only one on our section line. So our closest neighbors at the time came over and camped out in our basement until the power came back on.
The other part of winter that makes power outages difficult is the dark. The days get shorter in winter, so the world stays darker for longer. And when you live out in the middle of nowhere, there aren’t any lights.
During many of those winter power outages, I learned pretty quickly that my night vision is fairly good. But it’s not perfect. So whenever the power would go out, we’d all tromp downstairs to the basement and light the candles we’d stockpiled.
I can still remember being curled up in a blanket on one end of our basement couch with my family all around, watching that one candle burn. It’s amazing how much light one candle can put out when there’s nothing but darkness around you. It can light up an entire room just by itself.
Today’s verse is Psalm 119:105.
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
The Bible is often called a light or a lamp because it gives us everything we need to be able to navigate through the darkness of life, just like that candle in my basement all those years ago.
If you have a candle when the power goes out, wouldn’t it make sense to use it? Or does it make sense to rely on your own night vision?
My night vision is good. I can make out people and objects. I can maneuver in rooms full of obstacles. And maybe I can do all of that without stubbing my toe, but what I can’t do is see the details. And I can’t see colors. To see detail and colors, I need light.
I think it’s the same with living life without Scripture.
The world is dark. It’s full of darkness all the time. And maybe some of us have better night vision than others, but no one has perfect vision in the dark. You need a light. You need a light to show you what path is the best to take or what the obstacles in your path mean. And that’s what the Bible can do.
I know as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to prefer using a candle to just relying on my own eyes. But just like a candle, the Bible is only good if you use it. It isn’t going to put off much light if it’s just gathering dust on your coffee table.