One stormy winter evening, in days long gone and dead, my father said to me, “Son, I think we need to go out to the barn and check on the livestock.”
Through our living room window, when lightening flashed, I could see the trees waving and things being buffeted by the wind. I said, “Dad, I don’t want to go out there, it’s dark and scary!”
My dad was already moving toward the kitchen. As he came up to me, he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of. Come, I’ll show you how it works.”
We went into the kitchen and he reached up on the shelf and took down the kerosene lantern and lighted it. I looked at the lantern and then out the window and said, “I still can’t see. The light is here, but I still can’t see out there. Dad, it’s scary and I don’t want to go!” But he took my hand, opened the door, and the gusting wind struck us full force as we walked out into the scary darkness.
I will never forget it. Stepby step, as we moved forward, the darkness moved back. We couldn’t see very far ahead, but we could see step-by-step. Step-by-step we made our way to our destination. Step-by-step we were safe. Step-by-step, we were never out of the light.
My friends, many of us are facing futures filled with lots of dark and dreadful shapes. We can’t control the darkness around or before us, but if we want to, we can live in Jesus who is the Light of the World.
In that light, step-by-step, we will go forward with him. And as we go forward the darkness will move back and we will arrive safely at our destination.
Lead, kindly light,
Amidst the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark,
And I am far from home;
Lead Thou, me on:
Keep Thou my feet;
I do not ask to see
The distant scene—
One step is enough for me.
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several Central Texas newspapers.