Illuminating the Darkness

Scripture Focus

Psalm 139:11-12 (NLT) 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— 12  but even in darkness,  I cannot hide from you. To you, the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

Reflection on Scripture

Last week in Sunday school, we discussed the nature of light and dark. It came out in our discussion that scientists have discovered that what we perceive as darkness actually contains tiny particles called neutrinos, which are slivers of light that pass through the entire universe. The presence of neutrinos has been detected through experiments using large pools of water or oil. As neutrinos interact with electrons contained in the water or oil molecules, they give off flashes of light.

I say WOW to scientific revelations! But before scientists “discovered“ light in the darkness, the scripture had addressed this phenomenon in more than a few places. For example, in Psalm 139:11-12 a writer observes that darkness cannot hide from God. The night shines as the day. To God, both darkness and light are alike. Moreover, the gospels assure us that darkness cannot overcome the light (John 1:5). God can find us, even in the dark!

Prayer Response

Eternal God, thank you for your presence everywhere and in everything. I rest assured in knowing that, no matter what I’m going through, you will find me. You will embrace me with your light that cannot be overcome, even in my darkest hour. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

The Trouble Tree

Focus Scripture – Matthew 6:25-34

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

While taking a class in Pastoral Care, one of my classmates shared this story. He told me it would be all right if I shared it with others for the good of the order. Thanks, Elbert!

“The Trouble Tree”

The carpenter who was hired to help a man restore an old farmhouse had just finished his first day on the job, and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. First of all, on his way to work, he had a flat tire that cost him an hour’s worth of pay. Then his electric saw broke, and after work, his old pickup truck refused to start.

His new boss volunteered to give him a lift home, and the whole way to his house the carpenter sat in stone silence as he stared out his window. Yet on arriving, he invited his boss in for a few minutes to meet his family. As they walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When he opened the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was one big smile as he hugged his two small children and kissed his wife.

Afterward, the man walked his boss to his car to say thank you. Now on their way out of the house, the boss’s curiosity got the best of him. So, he had to ask the man about the tree on the front porch.

He said, “I noticed when you came up onto the porch before going into your house you stopped and touched the tree, why?”

“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” the man replied. “I know I can’t stop from having troubles out on the job, but one thing’s for sure – my troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then, in the morning, I pick them up again. Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ‘em up, they aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

Prayer Response

Awesome God, thank you for reminding us that there is no need to worry. You’ve got this! Amen.

Paths of Righteousness

Focus Scripture – Psalm 23:1-3

Reflections on Today’s Word

As the psalmist states, the Lord is our shepherd who guides us down the paths of righteousness for the sake of the Beloved. If we listen carefully, the shepherd’s voice will lead us over mountains, through valleys, and across rough terrain. All for the sake of love – a critical variable in the equation of right relationships.  There’s something about equations — they tend to need balance.

Did you know that love is positively correlated with a whole range of other virtues? The greater the love, the greater the peace. The greater the love, the greater the hope. The greater the love, the greater the justice. When Love, Peace, Hope, and Justice exist in right relationship with one another, we have arrived at a place of righteousness.

But wait! It is true; these variables contribute to Righteousness, but they don’t make up the whole of it. You see, the equation is not yet balanced unless we add Grace as the unknown variable. Grace accounts for all the things we cannot know. Our troubled waters become still. Our bodies are refreshed. Our souls are restored. We thrive in the presence of Love. And Justice becomes a real possibility.

When the unknowns are accounted for by Grace, we can dwell in a state of wholeness and balance forever.

Prayer Response

God, thank you for leading us down paths of righteousness because you love us. Thank you for balancing life’s equations with your Grace. Amen.