In the not so distant days before Sydney was hit with water restrictions, my husband would often arrive home from work and turn on the sprinklers in the back garden.
Once this was done, Steve would hop into the shower or hot tub (depending on how taxing his day had been) and then finally sink blissfully into the comfort of his recliner lounge chair.
The only trouble with this was that once clean and fresh, Steve had no desire whatsoever to go back outside.
That’s where I came in.
“Deb, could you go turn the water off please?”
When that request was made before sunset, I had no hesitation in complying.
Oh, but once night arrived, it was another matter altogether.
I headed off quite willingly the first time Steve asked me to do this after sundown. It was either that or wake up the next day with a swimming pool in the bottom garden!
Making my way across the back patio, I quickly headed to the two steps that led to the lower lawn area. Before long I was joined by our little dog, Tiger, who was sure that I’d come out to “play”.
Reaching the steps, I discovered that due to the encroaching darkness, my trip to the tap was going to be a little trickier. Holding onto the garden wall, I carefully made my way down to the soft grass below and that’s when I felt something a little too soft squish beneath my foot.
“ARGH! Tiger!” I squealed, realising what had just smeared across my shoe.
Tiger was quite oblivious to the fact that one of his little “lawn presents” had not been favourably received. Instead, he danced and skipped around my feet, ready for a game.
After a moment of scraping, I continued on my way – deeper into the inky blackness of our suburban backyard.
Groping blindly, I searched fruitlessly for the missing tap. Then, just as I was thinking that Steve must have moved it that afternoon, my hand connected with the cold, wet metal of the faucet and I quickly turned it off.
Wet, covered in cobwebs and with a certain aroma still lingering on my shoe, I stormed crankily back into the house.
“Next time, you can do it your jolly self!” I complained.
Steve just smiled.
Of course next time came and once again I made my way along the treacherous course. This time, however, I’d taken the precaution of turning on a light in the back room – a room almost entirely comprised of windows. This time I’d be able to see!
All went well until I reached the bottom of the steps and discovered that those little trees Steve had planted years before were now great, bushy giants that effectively blocked every skerrick of light from view.
With a sigh, I stepped once more into the darkness. This time I avoided Tiger’s mess, but nearly broke my neck tripping over him instead.
Once more I battled through spider webs and spiky vegetation in search of the missing tap.
Once more I finally found it.
Once more I stomped past my husband, muttering, “Next time …. you know what you can do!”
Next time arrived and of course I headed outside yet again. However, this time I stopped at our daughter’s bedroom to borrow something first.
It was just a tiny torch – cute, pink and toylike, with only enough power to illuminate two steps ahead of my way. Even so, it was more than sufficient to lead me safely to the tap and back.
Our Christian journey can be a bit like my trips to the tap. Although God’s word is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105) we don’t always use it that way.
Sometimes we set out to do God’s bidding, but leave His Word behind. Then we wonder why we’re always stumbling into one mess after the other.
Other times we rely on second-hand light from other people’s experiences with the Word. Although the light is on, it isn’t totally effective in illuminating our path.
The only way we can walk freely forward is by carrying God’s Word with us as we go. Even the smallest portion of His Word in our “hand” will still cast enough light for us to see the way ahead ... and with Christ by our side, even a little light will do.