17 Jul 2020
“Do you remember when Mum made us walk until it was dark?!”
My children say this to one another with a shake of their heads and a knowing glance in my direction whenever I say, “It’s really not that far now!”
The mad year that is 2020 began for us in the Lake District. New Year’s Day was crisp, clear and beautiful. Our route was planned, the rucksacks were packed, our boots were on and we were out on the hills (or as my kids would say “an actual mountain”). The views were stunning, the sky was clear, there were patches of snow on the summit and we made it! We conquered all 868 metres of Blencathra – what a way to start the year! The sun was setting as we headed down. Beautiful colours filled the valley as we lingered too long with over hot chocolate from a flask. By the time we descended into the woods on the rocky, slippery narrow path next to the waterfall it became properly dark!
Not to worry, we had torches! Sadly, only 5 out of 6 were functioning so Mother, whose idea this adventure had been, took one for the team. Feeling my way along a path and down steps with my feet, holding onto the flimsy undergrowth with the sound of a waterfall gushing on my right was more than a little stressful. Not having a light to my path for that short part of my day was terrifying.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
God’s word is the light that brings safety and comfort as we travel through life. A light that helps us see the view, enjoy the colours and make it home in one piece. Living without this light is picking your way in the dark close to danger. We all need to let more of this light into our lives. So how come it feels so hard to do?
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 22:5)
Revelation tells us how the story ends: the light has come and the light will win, darkness will be removed. But it’s hard now because we aren’t there yet. It’s still dark. Today, we’re still in the fight, the fight to make space, the fight with distractions, the fight to live differently, the fight in our own hearts and in our family lives to let the light in.
On that day I was out walking, to have the light when I needed it I had to have it with me. In just the same way, to know and read God’s word as a family, you need to pack it in your bag! Position a Bible by the wet wipes, take it on holiday, install it as an app on your phone… Have it with you, at least then you stand a chance of being able to read it and have it ready in life when you need it.
Next top tip: Read it! (crazy, huh?!) Actually read it, choose a gospel, pick a proverb, enjoy a psalm, take on an Old Testament adventure, explore an epistle. You might not understand everything about it but you’ll know more than if you read nothing! Let the light in! Read it yourself, read it out loud to your kids, let David Suchet read it to you as you sip tea, drip it in a bit at a time, bank it in your kids' long term memories and shine it into family life.
God wants to be known, he wants to be understood. He’s with us to help us by his Spirit as we read his word to help us grow to know and love him more. If you worry that you don’t know the Bible story well enough, now is a great time to learn. Why not read “The Jesus Storybook Bible” to your kids and yourself? Or read “The Big Picture Bible” out loud with your family after tea. Start the adventure that will last you the rest of your life – knowing and enjoying God!
This summer, let’s do whatever we can together to get the light of God’s word into our families' lives!