We are trapped in a forest where earlier, as we hiked, we saw the claw marks of a bear on a tree. We saw the skin of a rattlesnake next to a rock and we almost fell into a deep ravine that was hidden by vegetation. It is eminent that danger is everywhere in this thick wood, and the sun is setting. Soon it will be pitch black. Once the sun goes down and the light crawls off the trees, what are we going to do? In darkness all we will have is ourselves. Nothing else will be of use.
The light is now gone and the tree canopy is blocking out the glow of any starlight that might have reached our eyes. We have our hands on the trees, feeling our way through the woods, tucking our chins against our chests for protection. We believe there is a road up ahead about a mile, but we are blind and hindered with our every step. Fear strikes our bodies. It forces us to step cautiously. Strange sensations brush across our necks and faces, perhaps they are spiders or other insects or just leaves. Whatever they are, they make us swipe at our faces and squeeze our throats trying to kill whatever is there.
The sounds of the wilderness offer no comfort. The sounds are only a constant reminder of where we are, who we are. We are lost hikers in this pit, scared, mad. We are panicking and only want comfort and security. We only want it to be over, but in darkness, there is no end in sight. The road could be ten paces ahead of us and we wouldn’t know it.
If we only knew how to ignite a fire, we could seek fuel to raise the comfort we need to make it through the night. The light would let us know what is out there. It would shield us from the danger that is afraid of the fire and its light. It would warm us and provide a place to find rest, comfort and the opportunity to cook dinner and purify water. The only fear then would be the fear of the fire going out.
“Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:9-10).
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).