The evening was perfect for a walk on the beach. Darkness was falling fast, but there seemed to be ample time. The Carolina seashore in April was most pleasant—calm and cool. I walked briskly for about 30 minutes in the evening twilight. Upon turning to head back, it became quickly apparent that it would be totally dark before I reached the house.
Darkness quickly enveloped me as I retraced my steps along the beach. A few stars were out overhead, but there was no moon this night. The occasion caught me off guard and brought about some uncertainty.
As I walked the extraordinary expanse of sand at low tide, there were only two indicators to guide me. One was the sound of the ocean on my right. The steady light pounding of the surf was clear evidence of one boundary. The other indicator was a row of uneven and scattered dim lights in the beach-front homes about 75 yards to my left. These lights did not illuminate any portion of the beach. They only provided a compass point to keep me more or less on course.
Visibility was near zero. The only way to navigate this night was to continue walking between the quiet sounds of the ocean breakers and the irregular lights from those homes.
Is this not the way of the Christian journey? We walk through life listening for the still small voice of God on the one hand, and carefully noting the light that Jesus brings on the other.
Sometimes,our walk finds us in almost total darkness. Such times mean the honing of new senses. Such senses are greater than the human eye can see or the ear can hear.
Paul reminds us that we “walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) Our task is to listen for the quiet voice and focus on the One Light that outshines any darkness. And then to share that creative, energizing, and calming way of walking with others.
This is the way of formative discipleship.