Sunday, April 26, 2009



When Reggie, Matt and Tony finally arrived at the park it was late in the afternoon. They were all surprised at how high and steep the mountain seemed from this perspective. From the highway it had always seemed rather small. But Reggie had really been wanting to get out of town and have some fun. He had to convince Matt and Tony (Matt’s younger brother) to come along. Although none of the three were really hikers, the mountain trail before them seemed like a real challenge and a good way to release some pent up energy. As they eagerly headed to what looked like the beginning of a trail, Reggie turned around and headed back to the car. “What are you doing? Let’s go!” said Matt impatiently. “I’m grabbing my flashlight. Who knows, we may run across one of those caves we’ve heard about. Anyway, we forgot the snacks.” Reggie quickly grabbed the flashlight and backpack out of the trunk and sprinted back to where his friends were waiting. “We don’t need that flashlight you Boy Scout.” Matt said. Reggie just ignored Matt. After years of being friends, he was used to Matt’s attitude. Full of youthful energy and the excitement of the unknown, the three young men traveled quickly up the steep trail. They ran through the woods and discovered several different trails. The October air was cool and crisp; the break from city life was more rejuvenating than expected and the few small caves they had found fueled their desire to find a bigger one. Quite naturally, as they ascended one of the rocky trails, the three of them started to race. “I bet I can beat you to that big jagged boulder up there!” Tony shouted as he started to run. It was on! All three gave it all they had. Unfortunately for Matt, he tripped on a root and fell flat on his face. Reggie dropped the flashlight out of his back pocket. As he paused just for a moment trying to decide whether he should stop and pick it up or try to win the race, Tony sprinted ahead. When Tony reached the boulder he yelled and began making fun of his friends. Reggie picked up the flashlight and put it back in his pocket, disappointed he lost to a fifteen year old. After they all calmed down a bit, they decided to have a snack. Tony opened the backpack. “Wow. A couple of granola bars and two bottles of water? Matt, why didn’t you bring what I asked?” Matt wasn’t in the mood for questioning. He had scraped his arm pretty bad when he tripped and fell. “I did. I put it all in the trunk in a grocery bag. I don’t want anything anyway.” Reggie was pretty frustrated with himself for not noticing the bag in the trunk or how light the backpack was. As they sat catching their breath and talking, Reggie and Tony split one granola bar and they all split one of the bottles of water. Suddenly Reggie jumped to his feet. Matt and Tony looked at him with questioning expressions. “It’s getting dark.” Reggie said with obvious concern in his voice. “So what.” Matt exclaimed. “So what? Reggie said back to him. “The so what is that we got here around 3:30. The sun sets around 7:30. We have been bolting up this mountain in broad daylight for almost four hours. We’ve changed trails so many times I’m not even sure I know where we are. If we leave right…” Tony interrupted. “If we leave right now, it will be almost midnight before we get back to the car. And that’s presuming we know where the car is.” Being inexperienced outdoorsmen, all three of them suddenly felt very uneasy about their situation. “Lets go and get as far as we can before it gets completely dark,” Reggie said. Without saying a word to the others, he felt some measure of comfort remembering the flashlight in his back pocket. He was very thankful he had put new batteries in the flashlight this morning. And even more glad they hadn’t found a cave big enough to need it earlier and run the batteries down. With the others ahead of him, Reggie stopped and said a short prayer. “Father, please keep us safe.” Within 45 minutes it was starting to get really dark and the tension between them was rising. “I don’t remember that fallen tree. None of this looks familiar.” Tony said nervously. “None of this looks familiar!” Matt said angrily. “How could it look familiar? I can’t see 20 feet ahead of me. With all these clouds its going to be pitch black soon.” But they kept pressing on. At this point, with the stress and tension, none of them remembered the flashlight. Thirty minutes later it was completely dark. Each of them had tripped several times and the progress down the steep trail was very slow. “Let’s just wait right here until morning,” Tony said. “I don’t know what to do,” said Reggie. “But I do know there are bears in these woods and I don’t want to spend the night out here. “We’re lost,” said Matt. “Really lost,” said Tony. Feeling lost himself, Reggie suddenly remembered the flashlight. With the light, he knew they could find their way down the trail. As Reggie reached for his back pocket there was a quiet growl and rustling of leaves from the woods. “It’s a bear!” Matt said in terror. “Matt! It’s OK. If it is, he just wants this granola…” Another growl, but closer this time. Matt started running. “Matt! Matt! Don’t run. You can’t see where you are going!” Reggie threw the backpack towards the sound in the woods and grabbed the flashlight. He turned it on and yelled for Matt. Matt turned and in his state of panic, the light shining in his eyes just frightened him more. His imagination running wild and adrenaline rushing through his veins, Matt frantically ran from the light. He had no idea he was near the edge of a 30 foot cliff. “Matt!” Reggie yelled. Then he saw his friend disappear! Reggie turned to Tony. “You stay with me! This light will show us the way.” Although horrified about the thought of what may have just happened to Matt, Reggie was still thinking about the bear. He turned quickly with the light in the direction the growl had come from. He and Tony saw a small brown bear with the backpack in his mouth retreating into the woods. “Let’s go!” Reggie said. He grabbed Tony by the arm and started in the direction Matt had run. With the flashlight, the trail was easy to follow and the edge of the cliff was obvious. Reggie slowly walked to the cliff’s edge and looked over. Thirty feet below, he saw his friend Matt lying motionlessly. “Come on, Tony. We’ve got to get down there and help him. Matt!! We’re coming. Hang in there man!!” Even with the flashlight, it took two hours to find a safe way down to the bottom of the cliff. It seemed like the longest two hours of Reggie’s life. Was Matt dead, or paralyzed, or possibly OK by some miracle? Aside from all the thoughts running through his mind, Reggie had to tend to Tony. Reggie was concerned that in his distraught condition, Tony may unintentionally hurt himself by falling or tripping. When they finally reached Matt, what the light revealed and a desperate check for a pulse confirmed what Reggie feared most, Matt was dead. Reggie was heartbroken. He and Matt had been friends for years. Reggie was nearly overcome with guilt. He wished he had remembered the flashlight sooner. He wondered if shining the light towards Matt had startled him and caused him to fall. Matt was pulled from his own deep thoughts by the sounds of Tony crying. Tony was overcome with grief and fear and nearly hysterical. Reggie realized that, between the loss of his older brother, fear of the darkness and unfamiliar surroundings all around them, the threat of bears or other wildlife, Tony was in desperate need of help. He had to get Tony down the mountain. Although it tore him up inside, he knew he would have to leave Matt. “Tony. I’m so sorry about Matt. I can’t believe this happened. But we’ve got to go. We have to get off this mountain and get help. We have the flashlight and we can see where to go now. You’ve got to stay with me.” He gave Tony a hug, took him by the arm, and started leading him down the trail. Tony sobbed as they walked and was too overcome with emotion and grief to really think. He just walked. Although there was darkness and danger all around, the light allowed them to see the path and any dangers along the way. The night air was getting very cool, they were both exhausted. “I can’t go on,” Tony said. Reggie responded, “We can make it. With this light we can see the path and get to safety.” “But we don’t even know where we are,” Tony said desperately. “We are following this path down the mountain. Despite the darkness this light will show us the way and keep us safe. The sun should be coming up soon. Then we will be able to see everything and easily find our way back to the car.” As they continued to walk, Reggie began to pray silently. He prayed for Matt and Tony. He confessed the guilt he was feeling over Matt’s death. He thanked God for the flashlight. But mostly he prayed for sunrise. He knew that with the sunlight would come freedom. Freedom from the darkness surrounding them. Light that would reveal everything around them. The journey seemed long and difficult, but the flashlight fulfilled it’s purpose. They were able to see their way along the path and stay safe. As dawn approached, Matt said, “Tony, look. The sun is coming up. Soon we will have the light we need to easily find our way back to the car. We’re safe now. It’s going to be alright.” Tony stopped and looked back up the trail. “I wish Matt were here and could see the sun come up. He’s not alright. Why didn’t we remember the flashlight sooner? Matt could have been saved too.”


Focus Verse: 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophesy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

Additional Verses: Psalm 119:105, 2 Corinthians 4:6, John 8:12, Matthew 5:14


What is the Bible? It is the word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore it is the absolute truth. What is the purpose of the Bible? Although God’s word serves many purposes in our lives, I believe the primary purpose of the Bible is to reveal the fact that we are lost in sin (a light in the darkness) and show us the way to forgiveness and eternal life (a light unto our path) by salvation through Jesus Christ (the Light of the World). Once we are saved, one of our purposes is to allow the light of Jesus to shine through us by His Holy Spirit and help bring others to a saving knowledge of Christ (which comes only by God’s grace). Do you remember to look to God’s word in good times and bad? When life is tough and stressful times come, do you read the Bible and pray to God for direction? Do you only read God’s word when it is convenient for you? Or do you read God’s word each day and rely on the truth in the scriptures to keep you on the right path each day? Sometimes we forget how valuable the word of God is and how blessed we are (in much of the world) to have such access to it. Read the Bible everyday. Pray to God as often and as much as you can. Attend church and Bible study. Watch God work in the world around you. God will reward those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Mature as a Christian and let your life shine as an example of what faith in Christ can do. Ask yourself, are you letting the light of Christ shine through you?


Father, I love You! I praise You! Thank You for loving me, saving me and indwelling me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray dear Lord, that as I submit my life to You and Your Will, that Your light will shine in me and that I may have the privilege to be used by You to help bring others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I pray to You Father, in the Spirit, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.