Believe it or not, in the summer of 2013, a few high school juniors gathered together during their free time of a church retreat to sing Psalms. We were going through favorites and having a great time. I do not recall what we were singing at the time, but in the middle of the Psalm, the lights suddenly went out. The only source of light left was from the windows in the back of the room, which did not provide much thanks to the cloudy sky.
Unable to see our Psalters, you would think that we would just stop singing. Whatever we were singing, however, was one that most of us were familiar with. Some of us rushed over to the pale light from the windows, some of us pulled out phones to shed some light on the now darkened Psalters, and others just continued singing from memory. The singing degraded in quality quite a bit. Most stumbled over words, and a few parts were abandoned for the melody’s sake to keep it alive. None of us, however, stopped singing completely.
We finished the Psalm. Right after, of course, we all had a good laugh and tried to find some of the adults so that we could fix the problem; but none of us were willing to quit in the middle. This was three years ago, so the memory is a little hazy, but I definitely remember more Psalm singing, even before we fixed the lights.
I learned a lot of things during that summer, but here’s one of the most important lessons:
Sometimes, the lights go out.
There will come a time when life will come crashing down on your head, and everything bright and good in the world will suddenly seem to disappear. The lights are going to out and you’re going to be left with only what remains stored up in your heart.
This is why the Word of the Lord is so important in our lives.
Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
The ones who continued to sing the strongest were those who had the Psalm memorized. They kept it alive. If it was up to those who were scrambling to the dim lit window, it just might have died out. God’s Word is your weapon. When the lights go out, you want to have it with you, one way or another. The best way is to memorize.
Memorization has never been something I’ve been good at. It might not be yours either, but this is why it is so important to be in the Word every day. It’s hard. It requires time and patience to keep consistent in reading your Bible, but it will be an invaluable practice when times continue to get darker and darker.
Romans 10:8-9 (ESV)
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
When the lights go out, you will have a choice of loyalty. We all could have just as easily stopped singing and went about our business. Even those who did not know it by heart, however, rushed to whatever light source they could. You need the Word of God when times are dark, because when it is near you, you know where your hope comes from.
It is really that powerful, though? It’s just words in a book, right?
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews makes it clear. The Word of the Lord is more than just a book of words. It is a consistent, sovereign truth that is more powerful than we can ever understand. It cuts through our false identities and shows us our hearts, which is what our God judges us and knows us from.
This is something that we cannot ignore. If we do, then we will be lost in the dark without any idea of how we are to act or who to trust. Whether you sing it out, or recite it in the deepest parts of your soul, you need to keep to what God has so readily given us.
Darkness can be many things in life. It could be depression, persecution, temptation, loss of a friend or family member, and more. It’s when the darkness approaches that you learn where your real source of light comes from. God allows the dark because it helps us realize where our hope is, and if we are following his path, or our own.
Not facing darkness right now? Life pretty good? Then learn the scriptures. Everyone faces the darkness of sin. It is inescapable, but not unable to be defeated. You have to fight when the dark approaches, and your weapon is the Word.
Psalm 119:105 (ESV)
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.