The Lord is my light and my salvation . . .
This scripture is the first line of Psalm 27. Light is intended to help us see in the dark. If you walk into a dark room, you usually turn on the light so that you can see. If lights go out in a storm, you will grab a flashlight or light a candle to help you see. Light is important to us! But how does this relate to our spirituality? In many ways, we can live in spiritual darkness. We become so worried that we don’t enjoy life or notice the beauty around us. We can become so occupied with making money to pay bills that we work longer hours, which keeps us from enjoying our families and personal interests. We can go through a crisis and wonder why God let this happen. Why am I writing about darkness when the line from the Psalm says “light?” God is our Light. It is He who sustains us through hard times.
I have discovered that, when I am having a difficult time, I need to focus on God and just be with Him. I don’t even have to speak, knowing He understands what I am going through. I just need to hang out with Him. Then, I am not alone, but in the presence of love and understanding, which gives me light. I come out of prayer with a feeling of peace which can’t be described. All is well. Even though my situation may not be perfect, I have deeper understanding of how to face it. The truth of who I am and what is expected of me becomes clearer. All of this I feel with out words. It is simply a sense that God’s love is within me. These are priceless moments, and I am sure you have sometimes experienced this feeling after prayer, as well.
Are there times when you don’t feel God’s presence as you pray? Of course. During those times, we may feel like we are in the dark. We have all been there. When that happens to me, I try to remember times when I did feel God’s presence and knew that He was with me. As I reflected on those feelings, I also recalled what I know about God and what my faith teaches me. I know that I am loved, I am God’s beloved daughter, and that we are all are His beloved children. I also remember the vows I have taken and my commitment to God. God is still my light even in the “dark night of the soul.” As I think on these things, I experience a renewed connection with God. He helps me stay on His path, which helps me grow in faith and love.
Light, to me, means a burning desire, like the light inside us. Once when I was praying, I sensed a very strong light inside me, and it never ended. I believe that feeling was God revealing his presence to me. I don’t have words to adequately express my emotions and thoughts about that moving experience. However, this is the same light about which I am writing.
I think that God’s light is in every person. It can be described as love, as the desire to be united with God, and by many other descriptors. Frankly, I am not sure if we have the language in which to describe it. I only know it is Holy, and it comes from God. When we experience this, it is wonderful! Don’t you agree?
The next part of the sentence is “my salvation.” Jesus has given His life so that we can go to heaven. He has given us eternal life. Do we really believe that? I know that sometimes we question it. If I fully believed that I would be with Jesus in heaven, I wouldn’t be afraid to die, nor would I be upset when I lose someone close to me. I would miss them, but I would have a sense of happiness that they present with God. I admit, even though I know I will be with God in heaven, I am still afraid of death. One part of me is happy that someday I will be with God, but sometimes this feeling is overshadowed by fear.
I am not alone in this fear. Perhaps I need to continue growing in my faith and strengthen my relationship with God. Then, death won’t be as frightening. I have met older adults who are close to death and say they are ready to die. They want to see God. They have completed their spiritual work. They are ready no only to accept death, but even look forward to it. Of course, they worry about their families and how they will cope; however, they seem to have powerful calmness and peace about death. That is the kind of spiritual growth about which I am writing.
When I reflect upon salvation, I think of all the times God has been there for me. Without him, I don’t believe I would be alive today. I say this because, when I was a toddler, two teenagers molested me; one of them had a knife and was going to kill me. He was ready to stab me, but his friend stopped him. Even though this had a profound effect on me, I believe God influenced that teenage boy, letting him know it was wrong. I believe that young man listened to the light inside him. Thanks be to God!
Salvation also can mean that Jesus saves us from ourselves. If we make mistakes, Jesus will forgive us. It is incredible when you think about it. If we are truly sorry for our sins and come prayerfully to Jesus, I believe He opens his arms to us. It reminds me of the story of the prodigal son.
To put it simply, light helps us out of the dark: the darkness of being obsessed with material things and money. The darkness of not feeling God’s presence. The darkness of fear. The burning light of God within us will help us, if only we are aware of it.
How have you experienced the light of Jesus?