Thoughts for October
In October, increasing hours of darkness creep upon us a little earlier each evening. Children no longer play out-of-doors in twilight long after nine o'clock.
I have always enjoyed quiet, dark hours. As a child I was obedient most of the time, but my parents told my future in-laws, when I was quite small, about the trouble they had with me in one area. I didn't want to go to bed on time.
I used to lie in bed, writing poems in my head. Sometimes I'd tiptoe to find paper to write down the masterpieces so they would not evaporate before the morning light.
I as I grew, I still enjoyed being about at night. I chose to work nights when I was a nurse in a large hospital in Augusta, Georgia. I still work through the night most of the time, partly because it is easier to get around the internet when there is less traffic online. Creative brain waves seem to work better at night and productivity for me is at its best level. And my hurting body feels better in the cool of the night.
However, the darkness is not a friend in a poorly lit area. I remember when I was in high school, how dark the road was in the rural area where I eventually lived. There were no street lights, no white lines on the sides of the road. Finding where to turn onto another road wasn't easy.
I remember being impressed when bright lights were installed at turnpike ramps and "super-highway" intersections. What an improvement!
Walking outside in dark areas can be anything but fun when the object is to get quickly to a destination — without falling. The unknown, out there, in the dark, has to be assessed with alertness.
I'm sure that traveling alone, or with little light, has always called for alterness. Portable light must have been precious in biblical times. A story about light comes to mind.
I'm sure you know the story Jesus told about the ten wise and foolish virgins. Half of them planned ahead and had enough oil for their lamps as they waited at midnight for the arrival of a bridegroom. The other five were careless and not cautious. They ran out of oil and suffered unpleasant consequences.
(Mat 25:1-13 KJV) Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The point of that story is about being prepared when the Lord comes. However, the Old Testament, particularly Job, Psalms and Proverbs, has many allusions to light and to lamps, in regard to being instructed and led by God's Word. Light is needed for understanding and for living productively.
My poem for this month appears in the October Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's Decision Magazine. The Bible verse chosen for The Quiet Heart pages is "A Lamp to My Path" and the accompanying Bible verse:
THE UNFOLDING OF YOUR
WORDS GIVES LIGHT.
Psalm 119: 130, NIV
© 2002 Nancy Spiegelberg
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