Groping in the Dark
James Smith, 1859
It is very unpleasant to be in the dark, especially if you are in a strange place. This was my lot a few nights ago. I knew what I wanted, and I knew where I wanted to get to — but it was so dark I could not find the right road. I groped and fumbled about. For a long time I had not felt my need of a light so much, nor realized its value as I did then. It was a considerable time before I found my way, and in doing so, I got several knocks, and became very chilly. To be alone in the dark is unpleasant, and a friendly voice under such circumstances is very cheering.
After I had gained my point, I began to think of darkness as representing ignorance, cruelty, and crime. What a solemn testimony is that of the prophet, "Darkness has covered the earth, and gross darkness the people." How affecting the prayer of the Psalmist, "Have respect unto the covenant, for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty." And how cheering the announcement of another, "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined." And what a lovely representation Jesus gives us of himself when ne says, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness — but shall have the light of life." I wonder not that Solomon should say, "Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing, it is for the eyes to behold the sun." What would the world be naturally without the sun? Just in such a condition would we be morally, and spiritually, without the truth, and without the Savior!
My soul was in the dark once. In total darkness. I knew not my sin, I saw not my danger. I wanted something which I had not. I had heard of the way in which it was to be obtained, and thought I could find it — but I groped about in the dark in vain. At length I was led to God's Word, and I found the truth of Solomon's testimony. "The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light." By that word, I obtained a correct view of myself, and clearly discovered my danger. By that word, I saw the way of escape by our Lord Jesus Christ, and was led into it by the Holy Spirit. There I enjoyed the light of life, the light of God's countenance, and the light of joy and peace. I escaped from danger, obtained salvation, and saw with tolerable clearness the path of the just, which shines more and more onto the perfect day.
Since then, God's Word has been my light, and God's Spirit has been my guide. Nor can I do without either of them, for I need both a light to shine on my path, and a guide to lead me in it; and if left without either, I would find myself as I did the other night — groping in the dark. What obligations I am under to the Word, the Spirit, and the Savior; the Word is the light, the Spirit is the guide, and the Savior is the object to which I am led.
What home is to the poor traveler who has missed his way, and become bruised and chilly by groping in the dark, that, and more, oh how much more — is the Lord Jesus to me! In him is my food, my warmth, my rest, my every comfort. Without him I am hungry, cold, weary, and destitute of all real joy. O my Savior, leave me not in the dark — but if you do, I shall grope after you, and however cold and weary, I shall find no rest, until I find you!
Reader, may I say to you, as Paul wrote to his friends, "You were once darkness — but are now light in the Lord!" Have you discovered the darkness you were in? Have you felt your need of supernatural light? Have you endeavored to grope your way out of the darkness? Have you come to the light, and found rest unto your soul? My groping in the dark the other night, ended in a warm room, a comfortable bed, and refreshing sleep; and my former wandering in the dark, ended at the feet of Jesus, in rest of soul, and a place in the church of God. Has this been your case?
Believer, as a child of light, walk in the light. Walk in the truth. Walk in the Spirit. Walk in love. Walk in holiness. Let your course be that marked out by God's Word — that into which the Holy Spirit leads — that which unites and attaches you to all the Lord's people — that in which holiness shines forth resplendent — that all may see an illustration of the prophet's prediction in you, "And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it!" Isaiah 35:8