Selected by reader, Steve Bostrom, from Helena, Montana
To follow Jesus, we need the gift of faith. That faith uses a lantern to show us the next step. The next step. Not many steps but the next step. That requires humility and patience – but Jesus gives us those too. The illuminating quote from Amy Carmichael, a favorite of my sister, Judy, prompted me to send it to Judy. She was grateful to hear from her old mentor, Amy.
Scripture Focus: Psalm 119.105
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Reflection: Light for the Next Step :: Readers’ Choice
Originally published October 29th, 2018
By John Tillman
I’ve found the promises of light bulb companies to be some of the most blatant marketing falsehoods I’ve ever experienced.
In the past nine years living in the same house, I’ve replaced multiple CFL bulbs that claimed they would last over 10 years. Then I replaced those with LEDs claiming to last 13. Recently, I’ve replaced those with, slightly more honest LED bulbs that only claim to last 9 years. The truth will come out—or burn out, in this case.
The ease with which we access artificial light in our modern world makes it difficult for us to understand the world in which this Psalm was written. A lamp for our feet seems redundant when every space is illuminated. We will feel cheated by this verse if we mistake the light it promises for a prophetic career map.
According to the psalmist, God’s word isn’t a spotlight for our ego-centric quest. It isn’t automobile high beams enabling us to speed through the dark toward the future. God’s word, most of the time, provides one-step-at-a-time light. A lamp for our feet forces us to engage with where we are, not look only at distant destinations.
Serving in India, Amy Carmichael wrote about her experience of learning about this popular verse in a very practical way.
“Once when I was climbing at night in the forest before there was a made path, I learned what the word meant, Psalm 119.105: “They word is a lantern to my path”. I had a lantern and had to hold it very low or I should certainly have slipped on those rough rocks. We don’t walk spiritually by electric light but by a hand lantern. And a lantern only shows the next step—not several ahead.”
All the lights we trust in other than God’s Word, will one day fail.
The brightest lights we know and can design can’t show us what God’s Word can.
God’s Word is the light we need for everyday living.
Walking daily in this Word, meditating on it, breathing it in and out, making it a part of our thoughts and our prayers, charges an inner light of the Holy Spirit that we can trust to give us the next step. Carmichael explains:
“If the next step is clear, then the one thing to do is to take it. Don’t pledge your Lord or yourself about the steps beyond. You don’t see them yet.”
Daily spiritual disciplines keep oil in your lamp so that you may follow the steps of the bridegroom when he calls.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Show your goodness, O Lord, to those who are good and to those who are true of heart. — Psalm 125.4
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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Read more about Cultivation Requires Planning
God, desiring to walk with humanity in relationship, knelt in the earth and planted a garden. We, in our pursuit of a deepening walk of faith, need to follow his example of supernatural cultivation.