Years ago, I enjoyed hanging out with two brothers, Bernie and Dougie. An incident one night with them spurs a spiritual consideration.
We got permission from a local farmer to shoot rats in his corn storage. Armed with pellet guns and geared with flashlights, we set out to have some fun shooting rats.
It was very dark that night….
The storage barn was located along Route 259 close to Pee Wee Springs about six miles west of our homes in Wardensville, WV. My Dad used to retrieve our drinking water from there because the water at our house was sulphur water. Along the west bound lane at that point was a continuous grassy bank about a quarter mile long—-excluding a spot where there was a short gap with a twenty foot drop just off the shoulder of the road. At the bottom was a small telephone utility shack.
After an hour of stirring up rats, we started back home. But, the little Fiat the Rinards drove would not start because of a dead battery. Bernie got into the driver’s seat, and Dougie and I pushed the car through the gate onto the road and in the lane toward town. While the two of us pushed, Bernie kept popping the clutch. We pushed the car up and down the road, but it would not start. Bernie demanded more speed, and Dougie cursed at him to pop the clutch better.
Finally, exasperated and winded from all the pushing, Dougie said that he was going to lay down on the bank and rest a few minutes. Although just a few feet away, his form faded because of the thick darkness.
However, the next thing I heard was Dougie calling out my name—-“Branch!” I heard “oofs” and “ows”and the sounds of thumping and bumping. In an instant, I knew what had happened. Expecting to find rest, Dougie had unexpectantly stepped into that short gap and had rolled down that twenty feet. I hurriedly got my flashlight and shined it down on him. There he lay crunched up against that utility shack. While he could have gotten hurt, he fortunately did not. Bernie and I laughed hard at him as he climbed out.
It was certainly amazing that, despite the lengthy extension of that nice grassy bank, Dougie happened to step into that one break. However, had there been sufficient light, he would have seen how just a few steps, ether to the right or left, would have avoided the pitfall, and he would have achieved his rest on the comfortable slope.
This example in no small way draws attention to a spiritual truth, because we likewise attempt to rest at times in the wrong places not having sufficient light. The Scripture addresses this truth in the likes of Elijah, who attempted to find rest and escape in a dark cave, and, Jonah, who unwittingly found rest in the digestive juices of the belly of a great fish.
Their experiences qualify what we go through at times when dark nights of the soul grip us. Unsuccessful pushing drains us, and discouragement sets in. Spiritually exasperated and winded, we seek rest in the dark in the dark of spiritual night only to stumble down the short gaps of further heartaches.
You see, our God is not against us taking a rest. Sometimes we need to rest. But, if we take a rest, we need to carefully remember the benefit of proper lighting.
“The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the shadow of death light is sprung up.”
It is the Lord of light, Jesus Christ, who directs us to places and sources of proper rest. Do not step on your own without His light. “He is that true light, which lighteth every man that comes into the world.”
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.