It is you who lights my lamp
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness
I decided to keep rolling with this darkness theme we’ve got going,
because there is still so much to say about it.
It’s not like darkness just goes away just because we want it to.
We still get news we didn’t want.
We still lose people we love.
We still experience hate and anger and fear.
Darkness can’t be wished or worked away.
Which is the worst.
Because some of us (ok, a lot of us) are problem-solving people.
We get stuff DONE.
And when there’s something dark in our lives or the lives of our loved ones,
we just want to make it better.
We want it to go away.
And so we try our hardest to fight the darkness on our own.
We fight it with man-made light,
with false platitudes
with simple answers to complicated heartbreak
by covering our pain with “fine”
and by “should-ing” all over the place.
I’ve been there.
I like being responsible for myself.
And I want to be able to make my darkness less dark, all on my own.
How hard can it be?
So I try.
We all try.
And then, at some point, we realize that’s not how it works. And often, it is in these places of deepest darkness and exhaustion we turn back to God. Because it’s God that can light the lamp to lighten the dark.
And here’s the thing –
God lights the darkness in a way that nothing else can.
God lights the lamp that stays.
I love this verse from Psalm 18:
It is you who lights my lamp,
the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
It may have to get printed and placed somewhere in my office because it’s just so beautiful.
And for me, what makes it so lovely are the two words translated as “lights”.
They aren’t the same word in the Hebrew scriptures, even though they mean almost the same thing when translated.
The first one means to kindle, light up.
“It is you who kindles my lamp”
The second one means to cause to shine, or (and this is my favorite) to glitter/sparkle.
“The Lord, my God, makes the darkness shine”
Notice how it doesn’t say “God takes away my darkness”
Also, this verse is so often mistranslated as “God makes the darkness light”
That’s not quite right either.
God makes the darkness shine.
Now shiney darkness might seem like an oxymoron, but stay with me for a sec.
Think about moments when darkness is considered beautiful.
How candlelight and starlight and fireflies can make darkness shine.
It’s not light exactly, but it’s not quite so dark either.
This is what God does in darkness. When we’re in it, it can seem so scary and isolating and lonely.
But as the last two weeks of uplift have reminded us, God is in that darkness with us,
and there are things in the darkness that we simply cannot see in the light.
So no matter how dark it gets, remember that you aren’t alone.
That God is with you in whatever dark place you find yourself.
And that there is light to be found in that dark place of yours too.
God is there, lighting lamps and making the darkness glitter.