I’ve always loved to go camping. There’s something about being in the outdoors in a tent or camper and enjoying nature. Maybe it’s just the fact that you’re out of your “stuffy” house, or maybe it’s the thrill of being able to get dirty and grungy and it still be OK. I know the food surely tastes better when cooked outside. There’s nothing better to me than a Hot Dog on a stick cooked over a campfire. Ok, I better stop, I’m hungry already.
I remember one particular year, I volunteered to take a group of third through sixth graders to a group camp. We did this every year and I always thoroughly enjoyed it and the kids did as well. This camp was what was called a “pioneer” camp. There was only water and an outhouse. There was no electricity or other amenities. The kids were having a blast—— until the sun went down. It got dark. Really, really dark. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a forest at night with no light, but it is pretty scary. Every noise you hear from an owl hooting to a rustle in the leaves causes your imagination to run wild with thoughts of wild bears or wolves. Of course, none of those creatures ever made an appearance, but it didn’t make our fear of the darkness any less scary.
All of the kids had a various array of flashlights as you could imagine. They came in really handy when everything is pitch black. One night, I had noticed that I had not seen one of the boys for quite a while and I began to worry that he may have wondered off or gotten lost. I grabbed my own flashlight and began to walk off from the camp to search. I can remember how I wish I had a brighter light. How I wish I had a huge searchlight to light up the forest so I could see further off and find this camper more quickly. Instead, all I had to rely on was my measly flashlight that could only shine out a short distance. In fact, it could really only illuminate the next few steps in my path. I tried shining the light out into the forest, but the light was not intense enough and it did no good. However, when I shined the flashlight only at my feet or just slightly ahead, the light was bright and just what I needed.
I eventually found the camper just ahead, doing what boys do, exploring on his own without a care in the world. We followed the path back to camp with our flashlights and survived the rest of the trip.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalms 119, verse 105 which says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” I’ve often questioned God why HE couldn’t show me the whole path? Why couldn’t HE shine HIS light down the path and let me see what’s ahead? I want to see more than just the steps in front of me.
Just like when I was searching for the lost camper, HIS Light and HIS direction is more intense and more powerful if you trust HIM to guide you step by step. Whenever I look too far ahead, my focus and intensity lessens. I lose sight of what I really need to be praying about and focusing on. God wants our daily, constant devotion and the only way this can be accomplished is to focus step by step and have HIS Light shine on us with only the intense brightness HE can provide. Even though, at times, I wish I could have a beacon and see what’s coming; in reality, I’ll settle for the small lamp that forever keeps me focused on the next step at hand.