Sunday, January 1, 2017

As 2016 'caves' in...

Have you just walked through the greatest year of your life? Like an open field of daisies planted in soft green grass, fresh air, dew drops glistening on petals and birds chirping in the trees? 

Or maybe it was more like a deep dark cave with dangerous twists and turns, slippery surfaces, damp musty smells and little-to-no light to guide your path?

Our family recently went on a mini road trip to the Chiang Dao Caves. After proceeding into the caves we were faced with a decision. There was a short track with open spaces and lighting that you could easily walk along, or a more adventurous path that involved exploring an unlit part of the caves and a much longer trek. We would have to hire a guide, carrying an old-fashioned kerosene lantern to go with us on the more dangerous path, but we were all keen for an adventure so we picked the harder option and set off excitedly.
The kids followed along right behind the guide and I ended up at the back trying to capture memories and take pictures on my phone. What I soon realised though was that the further I lingered behind, the less I could see. Each time I tried to take a shot, that few seconds that I stopped, meant that the light from the lantern would disappear and I was left in complete darkness. As I tried to catch up with everyone else, I stumbled and strained to see where to put my feet and where to duck my head down and not a hit stalactite but it was extremely difficult outside of the circumference of the lantern's light. Pretty soon, I learnt that I had to stay close by the guide and in the light for my own safety!

I couldn't help but reflect, as I stumbled along at the back, at how much it was so much the reflection of life.

I was reminded of one of the first Bible verses that I had learnt as a child. Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

Inside the cave, without the lamp for our feet and the light for the path, we would've been in a lot of danger. Danger of slipping, falling down a hole, hitting our heads or going the wrong way. It was a good reminder to me that it is in the same in life. 
It also made me think how in life there is real darkness. When I get to hear news reports, I often wish I hadn't. They are just so devastating and sad. How can humans treat each other with such hate and evil intentions? If we just sat and listened to the news all day, I'm sure there would be feelings of hopelessness that would hang over us, dark clouds of despair.
But if we think about God being the light, all that is good and perfect and... real love. To keep ourselves from being caught up in the world's despair and devastated by hopelessness, we need to stay close to the source of light. We can find hope... even in the darkness. We must draw near to the source and stay close by the light.

As we head into another year ahead, I pray that whether 2016 was like a field of daisies or the darkest of caves, that you and I would know where to find 'the light'. That we would know that 'the light' is there for our benefit, our safety and to give us hope in the darkest of times. May we not be too self sufficient this year that we forget our need for 'the light' or walk with too much distance from it.

I also pray that in 2017 we can keep on the right track.  That we would have endurance to stay the course and not be easily distracted by other things that would draw us away from 'the light'. May we also reflect the light, the peace and the hope that the world so desperately needs.
Happy New Year from the Cross Family!

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