And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.
It was the afternoon Jeff flew to Denver on a business trip while I stayed home. I turned on the light in the hall, and a bulb blew.
It’s uncanny how often it happens. He goes out of town; a light goes out. The week before, it was a bedroom light that shot after he left.
It’s too symbolic to go unnoticed. When he leaves, part of my light leaves with him. I don’t like it.
But as I re-memorize Psalm 27 this season, I’m reminded of a light that never goes out. I like this much better. It begins in verse 1:
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
There’s something intuitive about light and dark in every culture, every age: Light makes us brave.
We’re afraid in the dark. We complain of the short days in winter; celebrate their returning elongation in the spring. We look forward to the dawn of a new day.
We’re made to love the light.
So as God would have it for me, he uses memory verses as light bulbs. Each verse I grasp is another light to shine on my path, another bulb in my box of bulbs that I want fully stocked.
- To illuminate beauty in the moment
“One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.”
- To shine on victories past
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.”
- To light up hope when the road is foggy
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
- To focus my attention as a candle in a dark room
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”
Just as God spoke light into existence with a word, his words continue to light up when I memorize them. Each big and small word require equal attention, demanding my participation in a way that reading alone doesn’t ask for.
And if I struggle to retain the words long-term, does that mean the memorizing was a waste of time? Definitely not. Because in the moment of learning, the Lord was changing me then into who I am now. He was with me, honoring my efforts to memorize, to meditate, to luxuriate in the message. His Spirit used our time together to make old words fresh again.
So whether the sun sets for the night or a storm blocks its rays or simply another light bulb burns out, I ask the Spirit to search my mind for a scripture I’ve learned to illuminate the darkness. To light up the Lord. To uncover his beauty for my gazing.
He is a light that will never burn out.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
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The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
~ * ~
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
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Which Bible verse shines light for you? Please share in the comments.
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