One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 139 and particularly verses 11-12:
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
On this past Sunday late in the evening, I went golfing. Rain showers had been coming frequently throughout the day, but by evening the sky was starting to clear. (Well, that is what I thought when I went out!)
Right off the first tee, a shower came. Darkness came upon me! I wondered if I had made the right decision to go out that day. As I looked over the sky, I could see blue sky not far off. In my darkness, I could see a little light on the horizon.
My first drive was one of the better drives I had hit off the first tee in the last few years. My second shot was not too bad but then came the third and fourth and fifth—all very poor shots! Again, darkness came over me. Should I have practiced around the practice green before starting? Should I not have even played that evening? On to the second hole and my drive was not one of my best, but it was okay. My second was terrible. My third was great. Highs and lows. Darkness to light, light to darkness.
On the third and fourth holes, things looked pretty light. I was hitting the ball fairly well. Not scoring especially well, I still felt better about my game. Then came the fifth hole! I drove the ball sky high and hooked it badly. I was way off in the wrong fairway—probably further from the hole than off the tee box! Then the rain started again! Darkness was surrounding me! Now I am as far away from my vehicle as I can get, on the course getting wet and playing poorly! Where was the light?
When I finally finished the fifth hole, I was wet and feeling badly about my golf game! Darkness had come over me. Then I got to the sixth tee box. The rain was again subsiding. There was a young family waiting to tee-off. Their joy at being out and being together was apparent. The father suggested that I go ahead of them as they were not playing well. The mother stated that she takes lots of mulligans and that she takes a lot of time. The young boy said they had let another group go ahead and that they were in no rush even with the rain coming and going.
How great it was to meet them on this evening and experience their joy! There was again light in the darkness of my own game. I went up to the tee box and with thoughts of this wonderful family in mind and how kind they were to me, I hit the best drive of the day! The ball took perfect flight and went over the hill and down the other side. The young boy was awed and stated he never knew an old man could hit it that far—so much further than he could! I strutted down the fairway and down the other side of the hill loving life!
I finished the first nine holes before it got dark and headed home feeling pleased to have gone golfing. It was good exercise. I got fresh air. I escaped the worries about family and congregation for a couple of hours. The light was shining bright!
Life is like this golf game and it is expressed in this Psalm. The Lord is our light. We are experiencing darkness in our life with COVID. We go through ups and down—light and darkness—as we try to make sense of what is going on, as we try to avoid being too close to others in the grocery stores, as we wear masks but see many others around us without masks, as we hear the number of people diagnosed with the virus go down and the next day the number of deaths in our area rising significantly! The darkness comes and then we see a little light.
In this time of highs and lows when we experience things like the joy of that young family, all our lows become washed away. I saw and heard Christ in those folks. They brought light to my day just as Jesus does as our light guiding us through these sometimes very dark days. If we are watching and listening, seeing the light through those clouds, we experience Jesus coming to us in our ordinary everyday lives.
Glimmering Creator, send your Spirit on us today that we may see your light shining in our darkness. Give us your hope of a future filled again with hugs and handshakes, singing and fellowship. You showed us true suffering in the trials and death on the cross that your Son, our Savior, experienced here on earth. Brighten our way on our journey knowing salvation is ours. Amen