In the Absence of Light
I am embarrassed to say that I drove my car hauler, the source of my family's livelihood, not to mention the primary source of campaign funds (for now), straight into a rather large ditch. Not being one to allow a good lesson to go unlearned, I thought I'd take a little of your time to talk about it.
… at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
It was a dark night, the half moon covered by thick rain filled clouds. A few miles earlier, I had passed a fellow trucker and thought I noticed a flicker of headlights. My first assumption was that the driver I had passed had flashed the lights to let me know I was clear to move to the right lane. But, checking my mirror told me that wasn't likely the case.
I turned up the brightness on my panel lights, to better see my gauges. If I was having an electrical problem, I wanted to know it.
For the next few miles, I drove in a straight line, on a straight road, eyes moving up and down from the road to the voltage meter and back again. I had just about decided it was my imagination (or perhaps that truck I mentioned), when my last look up from the gauges left me looking at absolutely nothing but darkness. My headlights had gone OUT!
The dashboard lights and clearance lights were still on, but the headlights, BOTH of them, had inexplicably tripped their breakers and blinked out.
Now, based upon the information available to me just moments earlier, there was no need to panic, so I didn't. I recalled having recently passed the aforementioned truck, so I belayed my brain's first order to brake quickly and firmly, just in case that truck was directly behind me. I calmly turned on my right turn signal, looked to my right mirror, again thinking of that truck. When I looked back to the front, I was shocked to see, in the dim light of the clearance lights, a reflector post directly in the center of my hood, maybe 20 feet ahead and approaching fast. If I had to guess, I'd say something in the range of 65 miles per hour fast.
I remember thinking, as I pulled the wheel to the left, “How did I get from the center lane, on a three lane highway, to the shoulder, in the space of time it took to check my mirror?”
From there, it was a short, but exciting drive into the ditch.
All things considered, things turned out about as well as they could have. I was not injured at all. I won't be driving that truck for a long time though, if ever again.
Well, that's the drama. Now, for the lesson(s):
As a Christian, I am called to be light. Remember the verse from Ephesians? Most of the time, light goes unnoticed and unappreciated, that is until it's gone. Light is never an impenetrable barrier and almost always an effective tool for increasing one's ability to gather information. Even a small amount of light can be useful in a dark place. We can even use a pinprick of light (the North Star) to navigate from point to point around the globe; well, in the northern hemisphere anyway. As a Christian, I am called to be light all the time, not just when I feel like it. A brief failure of my headlights, maybe 10 seconds from lights out to out of commission, had catastrophic consequences. A brief failure on my part to be 'light' can have a similar effect on whatever random individual happens to be around to experience it.
But, here's the thing about light; the properties of light, as I mentioned earlier, make it a powerful tool for gathering information that, in turn, can influence the behavior of those observing it. But, it's properties do not allow it to exert force upon the observer to direct behavior. My headlights provided me with information. That's all. They didn't drive the truck. The truck went into the ditch because I was lacking crucial information necessary to good decision making. Just beyond the range of the lights, when they went out, was a gentle curve. Had my lights continued to be 'light', I would have had the information I needed. Of course, the driving would still have been up to me.
That's where I think many of us blow it. We behave as though we have been called to be something more than a powerful tool for helping others gather the information required to make a good decisions. Ultimately, it's that ONE decision, but our 'light' influences many other decisions the individuals around us make, every day. We have decided it's our job to make the decisions for them, and that is the weapon being used by politicians ON BOTH SIDES, to keep believers and non-believers at odds with one-another.
I have said in the past, “The Constitution is the religion of government”. My faith in Christ, as my Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in me, is what makes me who I am. I understand that the only difference between me and (insert your worst example of humanity here) is that Holy Spirit. I understand it, because I spent the first half of my life on the other side of the equation. I don't expect, and scripture tells me NOT to expect, one who hasn't experienced the saving power of God to behave as I do. My job, should I be elected to the Senate, is not to force them to do so. My job is to protect everyone's right to make their own choices, while being an effective tool for the gathering of information (light), and by the grace of God, possibly inspiring some to want to know Christ as I do.
Christians and non-Christians alike should desire leaders who reverence both Christ and the Constitution. Christ, if we are serious about our faith, prevents us from behaving selfishly and immorally while in office. The Constitution prevents us from taking away your freedom to make your own choices, even if we disapprove.