In 9th grade I auditioned for a select “pop” choir called Celebrations! (The exclamation point goes with the name, not the sentence.) Cheesy, I know. The song choice and choreography were equally cheesy. We sang a Gloria Estefan song with hand motions. For real, we did.
A zealous new Christian I picked Amy Grant’s Sing Your Praise to the Lord as my audition piece. To this day, I don’t know what I was thinking. It was the longest song ever with multiple key changes and instrumentals, not to mention I went to public school – awkward! Amazingly, I made the cut. But since then every Amy Grant song (no matter how good) has a cheesy, awkward, adolescent connotation to it. (Sorry Amy!)
Last month I was on a youth retreat that gave a new meaning to an otherwise cheesy notion. Saturday night we walked the Stations of the Cross in the dark through the woods in the hill country. It was awesome. Hilly terrain, profound darkness, peaceful silence, and bright stars. We had our flashlights on as we walked from station to station, but turned them off for the praying of each.
As we hiked back to the cabin we, again, used our flashlights. Part way down the trail my friend and I fell in line behind one of the adults who was carrying the camp’s lantern. I was surprised by how much light it gave off. It lit up a good 10 to 15 foot area. Clicking off my flashlight I turned to my friend saying, “If we stick close to him, we don’t need this!”
And it hit me.
So often I go through life with my cheap dollar store flashlight, scanning the road ahead with a tiny beam of light, peering desperately into the darkness.
This brought to mind a beautiful scripture (previously clouded by cheesy, awkward, adolescent connotations): “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
This isn’t a cheesy song. It is truth. (And I'm sure that is what Amy was thinking when she recorded the song!)
We don’t need to peer into the darkness. We don’t need to frantically scan the upcoming terrain with our 5 inch weak beam of “light”. We have thy word. We have the Word. If I stick close to Him, He will “keep steady my steps” (Psalm 119:133) and “show me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11). He will “lead me in paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3) and “He will be our guide forever” (Psalm 48:14).
Though the path ahead may at times seem dark and uncertain, “Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou dost hold my right hand. Thou dost guide me with thy counsel, and afterward thou wilt receive me to glory.” (Psalm 73:23-24) “For lo, those who are far from thee shall perish . . . But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge . . .” (Psalm 73:27-28)
Today may we all “draw near”, walk in His light, and make Him our refuge.