As the days have grown shorter, our morning walk has grown darker. Now we complete our walk before the sun even begins to rise. Fortunately, street lights keep our path from being plunged into complete darkness, but there are still times when it can be hard to see.
One stretch of our walk is particularly difficult. Tree roots have damaged the sidewalk, and the residents routinely leave hoses, buckets, and various other items strewn across the sidewalk. It also rests in one of the darker stretches of our path.
That particular spot is not dark because of the absence of streetlights. Technically, the streetlight at the end of that block sheds enough light to allow walkers to maneuver over the stretch of sidewalk. Instead, the problem is related to our position in comparison to the light. As we walk down the sidewalk away from the light, our bodies cast long shadows in front of us. The shadows are at their worst right at this treacherous spot of sidewalk. Right where obstacles are frequently left in the path. Right where we need most to see.
In all honesty, there’s a pretty simple solution to our path problem. If we would reverse our direction, we would be walking toward the light on that stretch of sidewalk instead of walking away from the light. The shadows would fall behind us, and we would see the way before us more clearly.
But, we are used to going that way. We are accustomed to the spots where the sidewalk is cracked or buckled, and we know where to step, even in the dark. We are used to watching for extra obstacles in the dark. So, we keep going that way.
It really is not that big of a deal for us to choose a cluttered path for our morning exercise. But, as my husband and I walked this week, we discussed the way our chosen path, the light, the shadows, and the obstacles all offered a spiritual image.
Think on this with me for a moment. What if the light represented Jesus and the sidewalk our life path. The broken sidewalk and other obstacles are the things that make us trip as we walk through life.
The obstacles are constant. Sin has destroyed the path in so many ways. We will encounter them no matter which why we go.
The light is also constant. Jesus illuminates the path by His grace. It awes me. It overwhelms me. Sometimes I cannot wrap my mind around why He would sacrifice Himself just to illuminate the path for sinful man. But He did. And I can see the path and its obstacles because of His light.
What changes is my direction. As I journey, I can walk toward or away from the Light. When I walk toward the Light, my destination – the Light itself – is very clear. The obstacles are also very clear. I know how to step over and around them. It is not easy. Sometimes the obstacles are pretty big, and I can only see how to get past them one step at a time. But, they are still bathed in the Light.
When I walk away from the Light, however, nothing is clear. I lose sight of my destination, and the shadow of my weaknesses and failures fall over the obstacles. I struggle to see them and to see how to get around them. I stumble and fall because the darkness closes around me. The Light still shines. But my own choices prevent it from illuminating my path.
Which way are you walking today?