Have you ever hit your toe on the furniture by stumbling around in the darkness? You knew full-well the piece of furniture was there - no one moved it after you went to bed! Yet, in some moment of "altered alertness" you came into full contact with that inanimate object. Have you ever noticed it is most commonly your little toe that gets all the stubbing??? What this tells me is that we "almost" avoided the contact which left us in so much pain! Just a margin of error - not a huge deviation from course - just a tiny margin. Imagine that! This should give us a moment to pause about some of the other "errors" we experience in life which cause us more than a little pain - it was likely not a "huge" margin of error which brought us full-face with the pain!
“I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” (John 8:12 MSG)
Why do we stumble upon the furnishings in the dark? Most likely, it is because we did not pay attention - we were "altered" in our alertness. It isn't that we set out to discover just how much pain the nightstand could bring into our lives! We thought we'd avoid putting on a light, maybe out of "courtesy" to someone else in the room, but we find we often "stumble" where there is no light! The truth is: We NEED light! Nothing dispels darkness other than light.
Jesus said he is the world's light - no one following him will stumble around in the dark. There is plenty of light in his pathway. So, why do we still experience "margins of error" which cause us so much pain in life? I think it is more likely our level of 'altered alertness' which gives us more concern - not the degree of light we have been given. If you don't believe this to be true, think back to the last time you ran into some inanimate object in the full daylight! I used to be playing so intently at some game like hide-and-seek and find myself smack dab on a collision course with the backyard tree! Trust me, we connected more than once! It was not because I did not know it was there or because we were playing in the darkness - it was fully daylight and I knew we had thirteen such trees in our yard!
My attention was diverted because I was intent on the game. I engaged my mind in the game, not on the obstacles in my path. In trying to focus so intently on the game, I excluded the 'awareness' I had to the very things which would bring me harm. This is often the case with the things bringing pain into our lives through our 'altered alertness' in relationships, business dealings, finances, spiritual growth, etc. We likely know the path has these obstacles, but we are so intent on something else, we 'collide' with the obstacle instead of avoiding it!
Did you ever stop to consider what alertness means? In the simplest terms it means to be "fully aware" and attentive. We have a similar word in our English language - when we say we are "keenly" aware of our surroundings, we are implying we are "attentive". One of the very 'telling' signs of our level of alertness is our ability to be agile. If I had been more alert to the trees in the yard, I'd have avoided a few bloody lips! My agility would have caused my body to dodge them instead of remaining on a collision course. Agility of mind helps us choose direction, while the agility of body helps us correct course quickly. In the same way, when we are "agile" in spirit, we often avoid the collision course with the compromises which will bring us much pain.
We have been given plenty of light, but we also have to exercise a degree of alertness in order to be "agile" - responsive to warning signs and able to make course corrections which will keep us from experiencing the collision course! Sometimes I think we demand more light when all we really need is a little more attentiveness to the light we have been given. Just sayin!