Toward the beginning of September, I went for a walk on the narrow gravel road that runs by Safe Haven Farm. Since spring of this year, I’ve been walking about two miles almost every weekday. It’s a great way to clear the cobwebs out of my head, and I love to see the wheat growing.
As the summer progressed, though, the days got to be sweltering. So if I couldn’t walk in the morning, I waited until evening. That strategy works great in summertime because even at 9 p.m., there’s still enough light to see by. But all that changes in September. That’s when the days grow noticeably shorter. But I didn’t really think about that.
I left the house at 7:30 p.m. As I started down the road, I realized the sun had already set. But I didn’t think much of it. There was still plenty of light left. But in half an hour, as I was coming back toward the house, I realized just how dark it had gotten.
It’s easy to get scared in the dark. Fear and uncertainty can creep up on you without warning.
We live in the middle of a wheat field. Like 640 acres of it. There are no streetlights. There are no neighborhood lights, because there isn’t a neighborhood. My house is the only inhabited house in a square mile.
And as I walked toward the yard light, the only visible light in the dusty evening, I started to hear skittering feet around me. Mosquitoes attacked in force, and I passed through thick curtains of gnats that stuck to my sweaty neck and crawled on the lenses of my glasses.
It’s easy to get scared in the dark. Fear and uncertainty can creep up on you without warning. The what-if scenarios can start whirling in your mind if you let them. In the middle of the prairie, in the dark on the central plains, you’re alone. And even if you have your phone, even if your phone has signal, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to dial for help in time to prevent an animal attack.
But what are you going to do? Stop?
I could have stopped. I could have called for help. I could have refused to take another step until someone came to get me. But I’m not sure that would have solved the problem.
I was out in the dark on a country road, trying to get home. Stopping would have made me an easier target for whatever might have been out there. Waiting around would have only provided the mosquitoes an easier meal. So the only viable option was to keep walking.
And I mean, come on, that road hasn’t changed in the 20+ years I’ve lived on it. I’ve walked that road from the time I was 12 years old. My house has been in the same place for over 100 years, and it hasn’t moved. So it wasn’t like I could get lost. If I just kept walking straight, I’d get there eventually.
If something was going to attack me, I couldn’t stop it. So worrying about it wouldn’t do me any good. The best chance I had was just to get home. Realizing that, I calmed down. I could enjoy the cool air of the post-sunset evening. I could smell the dusty sweetness of the milo fields. I could smile at the crunch of gravel beneath my walking shoes.
And in 15 minutes, I reached the driveway at Safe Haven Farm. And everything was fine, although my legs were covered in mosquito bites, and it did take me a little while to get the gnats combed out of my hair.
My situation didn’t. I was still stuck on the dirt road in the dark being eaten alive by bloodsuckers. What changed was how I chose to see my situation. I did what I could do, and I left the rest up to the Lord.
We’re all stumbling around in the dark. Just admit it. None of us know where we’re going or where we’ll end up. We can make goals. We can have dreams. We can predict what the next ten years will be like, but nobody really knows.
Cancer strikes. Drunk drivers and drug overdoses steal our loved ones. The economy tanks, and the job we thought we couldn’t lose slips through our fingers. Nothing is certain. Or is it?
In the dark, in those moments when you can’t see where you’re going and unseen enemies are gnawing at your heels, you have to focus on what you know is true: God hasn’t changed, and the road is the same.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14
God is who He’s always been (Hebrews 13:8). You still get to Him the same way—through Jesus and Jesus alone (John 14:6). The road is straight. The path is clear. You know the way. It may be dark and scary, but the only viable option you have is to keep walking. Stopping won’t help. Going back won’t help. Just keep moving forward. You’ll get there eventually.
Do what you can. Let God take care of the rest. Run toward the future with open arms, and don’t be afraid.