Dark Paths

By Jennifer Duncan

One of the popular posts on Facebook these days asks a similar question each time. It shows a photo of something that was common in the 50 or 60 years ago, and asks, “Do you know what this is?” It is usually something like the speaker that hung on the car window at the old drive-in theaters, or a vintage roller skate that attached to one’s shoe, or maybe an outdated type of Corningware. I have a 100% record. I ALWAYS know what these items are. I often still have them in my home! 

So, it’s not surprising that if one of these posts included a photo of an outhouse, I’d have to nod and say, “Yes, I know what that is, and I’ve used one many times!” I can testify to the smell of the bag of lime that always sat inside the door, and the fact that there was often a Sears catalog lying on the seat, not for one’s reading enjoyment, but to use instead of toilet paper! 

The outhouse that I remember best was the only restroom facility at a riverside cabin our family owned some years ago. We spent many happy days at the cabin on the river, but I always made sure my husband had sent the exterminator out to spray for various kinds of creatures. The man even claimed to spray for snakes. And though I’m not sure that’s even possible, his claim gave me some peace of mind when I took a nighttime stroll to the outhouse.

The most important possession to have when going to the outhouse after dark was a large, reliable flashlight …with fresh batteries and a good strong bulb. I could shine that beam out several feet in front of me and be sure that I wasn’t sharing the path with some snake or skunk or other unwanted companion. This was very important to me.  And even though the light only extended out a few feet, it moved with me, and kept me feeling safe. As I took one step at a time, the light shone enough to illuminate the path …just enough …for one more step, and then another and another.

Walking in faith with God is a lot like that. The world can be a frightening place, with many daunting circumstances “out there”. It’s enough to make one want to just “stay home” …not take any risks …only do and say what is safe. But the light of God’s love and presence shines out in front of our hesitant steps, and can give us the confidence to keep walking, even when we’re a little bit scared.

All God asks of us is to honor Him with an obedient walk. He’ll provide the light. And as we put one foot down, He moves the light enough to show us where to put the other foot. So, when God asks you to take a stand for Him, big or small, trust that He will give the wisdom and the courage you need.  When the way is uncertain, but the call is clear …hear Him say, “Just put one foot …just one little foot …on the path of obedient faith. And I will light the way.”

Jesus came, “to shine upon those who sit in darkness

and the shadow of death, to guide our feet

into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:79         

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