Over the past 13 years, my wife and I have made several 12-hour trips to Wisconsin to visit our daughter and her family. We traveled throughout the night this year for the first time. Traveling in the darkness made the drive somewhat pleasant and peaceful, but it also limited the potential for enjoyment of the experience.
The darkness produced peace and pleasantry in the fact that I felt somewhat alone for almost 12 hours. Since traffic was relatively light, I experienced very few frustrations from the usual interactions with other drivers. The darkness seemed to hide my identity and actions, so that the fear of detection and being stopped by law enforcement due to an infraction was minimal; this proved somewhat relaxing.
The experience was peaceful because I felt free to pretty much do what I wanted to do as I set my nose toward my goal. I did not feel hindered or restricted by others in fulfilling my plans for my travel.
However, traveling in the darkness limited the potential for enjoyment in that I could not clearly see anything outside of the beams of our vehicle’s headlights. I could not view the awe-inspiring crop lands of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. I was not prompted to curiously consider the lives of the inhabitants of the various homesteads which we passed. Although I did see the red marker lights that identified each of the gigantic windmills which dot the countryside in Illinois, I did not wonder at man’s ability to design and construct such engineering marvels because I could not see the actual structures; I would not have known what they were, had I not seen them before.
The darkness limited my potential for enjoyment in that it limited my ability to experience and appreciate the world outside of our vehicle. I could not see very far in front of me, behind me, or around me. The only means available to me to gauge our progress were the occasional road signs that our headlights happened to shine upon, and any instruments of measurement I might have utilized inside our vehicle.
Traveling in the darkness also increased my fear for the safety of myself and my family. Although I had taken as many precautions as possible to ensure a safe trip, machines can breakdown, driver error can happen, and falling weather can add to the chances of an accident occurring. The fear of having to deal with any of these on an interstate in the darkness of night is far more acute than having to deal with one of them in the light of day.
Spiritually, traveling throughout our lives in darkness may appear peaceful and pleasant. We may feel free and unrestricted. We may like to believe that the darkness hides our identity and actions from anyone to whom we are accountable, and thus we can do whatever we desire. We may enjoy the concept that we are alone; free to revel in our own thoughts and lusts.
But eventually many of us will realize that traveling through this world in spiritual darkness actually hinders our enjoyment of life.
We will realize that being trapped inside our own shallow existence limits our ability to appreciate the wonders of this world which God has provided for us. We will realize that being unable to see past the man-made illuminations of life produces needless fear and hinders our ability to understand the true meaning of life. We will realize that spiritual darkness cannot hide our actions from the one to whom we are all accountable.
That’s when traveling in the light becomes the preferred choice.
On our trip ,I enjoyed traveling in my own little world in the darkness of night. But the potential dangers and the discouraging limitations proved to negatively outweigh the enjoyment. From now on, should I have a choice, I will choose to travel in the light of day.
The reasons for spiritually choosing to travel in the light of God are just as compelling.
“19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21) ESV
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