We stepped outside, the warm light from the kitchen glowing behind us, nothing but darkness before us. The air carried an autumnal chill that stung our cheeks, filled our nose, and cut right through our exercise clothes. Silence permeated the landscape. I pulled out my phone, cued up the app that would play our morning prayers, and familiar, beautiful words spoke out into the darkness:

Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise.
Come, let us worship the Lord…

My husband and I have been taking morning walks each day for over a year. We’ve been listening to morning prayers together for a couple months. But as our schedules demanded we move things earlier to be able to get out of the house on time, we decided to combine the two…and to do them both at 6 a.m., despite the fact that this time of year, that meant before daybreak. “Do we really want to walk in the dark?” we’d asked. And we answered, “Why not? Let’s give it a try. We can always bring a flashlight.”

It isn’t as though I’ve never taken a walk in the dark before, even in those last minutes before dawn. But there’s something about walking with prayers singing out around me that made me view it all in a different way. Or maybe in a very old way–certainly, none of my thoughts were new, either to me or to other people who have observed light and darkness and how the very physical versions remind us of so many Truths on a spiritual, mental, and emotional level.

Not new, but worth dwelling on again nevertheless.

The first day, we went out without a flashlight. Just to see, we said. Just to see if we could walk without it. The first side of our driveway we walked down, overhung with trees, was so dark in those first moments that my instinct was to reach out and grab my husband’s arm. Even though it isn’t exactly conducive to the brisk pace we always set, I wanted to lean in. To feel his presence. To know that though I couldn’t see him even a foot away in that darkness, he was there.

And I thought, How beautiful, Lord, to know that even when I can’t see You through the darkness, I know You’re there. Right there.

As we reached the bottom of our driveway and prepared for our first turn, usually executed with quickness and precision and knowledge, we both hesitated. Where was the bush that marked where we turn? The slope of the hill, the feel of the place said we were close, but where was it? Finally we turned; at that same place on the next day, when we had a flashlight in hand, we made the initial turn without the hesitation–but then I came to a halt, waiting for that beam of light to swing around. Because without it, I had no idea where my feet should land. I had no idea, having simply turned 180-degrees, where I was now.

And I thought, How lost I am when I turn from Your path, Lord, even a little. Even when I think I should know what I’m doing. Without Your Light guiding me, I can’t see a thing.

We traveled up that arm of the driveway again, under the thickest covering of trees. The prayers still sang out around us, filling my soul with the beauty of the Psalms, but I could see less even than before. I nearly tripped–as I often do even in the daylight–over that uneven spot where the driveway passes over some sort of culvert or pipe or something. But then–just then, when I stumbled a bit–I looked up. There, the trees end. There, starlight pierced the black sky with  bejeweled points of light that literally took my breath away. This is what Bram stayed up all night to behold in Worthy of Legend. This was the beauty he waited for daily.

And I thought, You positioned each star just so in the universe, Lord. Suns in those far-off solar systems, worlds unto themselves. Yet here they are, visible in my sky, showing up in lines and shapes, shining their glory to remind me of Yours. You call each star by name. You see it from every position, as we never can. We see only how each one looks, studded against our darkness. But You know the true measure of their light. We see only the beauty or the usefulness, but You created them with far more grandeur than what we can perceive.

On that side of our looping driveway, the neighbor’s house shines its own porch light out into the darkness. It spills out onto the drive, illuminating the general slope of the land, but not quite strong enough to show every rock or dip that could trip us up. Still, it’s helpful. When that light is at our back, illuminating our path, we can walk with confidence.

When You, Lord, are illuminating our path, we can walk with confidence.

But then at the bottom of that end of the driveway, we turn again. That porch light–so helpful a second ago–is now blinding. If we look up, we can see nothing but that globe of light. It makes the darkness around it seem darker, the things we could see a minute ago invisible in contrast to it.

Like when we look toward Your face, Lord. Your glory blinds us to all else. Your Light makes what had seemed bright-enough in the world suddenly cast in shadow. Beside You, nothing is visible unless You choose to illuminate it.

Then we pass by the house with its light, and we have to blink a few times. The darkness that had seemed navigable before now seems so dark.

When we’re in the world, we think we can see. We think we can navigate it with success. But looking at Your Light shows us how dark it really was and is. It makes us not want to enter that darkness again–certainly not without a Light of our own, shining a path.

How blessed we are, that He has called us out of darkness. How blessed we are, that He has called us into His marvelous light. And it makes me marvel. It does. Something as simple as a walk before daybreak can make it so clear–we are nothing without Him. We fumble about, we think we know where we’re going, we may even convince ourselves that the world is just as we like it. That it isn’t that dark. But the moment His Light touches that darkness, we see the truth.

The fifteen minutes of our morning prayer ended long before our walk. We got to watch the darkness lessen, degree by degree, lumen by lumen. Then a new beauty began to creep into view–the sun, warming the sky there between the mountains in the east. It started as a low blush of orange. Then it spread its fingers out, up and up and up into the sky, turning it from black to blue, to purple, to red, to orange, to yellow.

Dawn had come. Day had broken. Darkness was banished for another twelve hours. Light had found the world.

Thank you, Lord, not just for the sun we see each day, but for the Son that lights our eternity.

We reached the end of our walk, turned back into our warm, glowing kitchen. Our cheeks were cool, pink from autumn’s air. Our bodies were warm, invigorated from the 45-minute walk. Our spirits were renewed from the Scripture we’d just heard. Our minds were set from the conversation that followed.

And our hearts…our hearts were attuned to the Light of His coming. Today, tomorrow, forever. Each day and night a reminder of the glory of the God who reigns over the heavens.

Thank you, Lord, for Your Light.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email