Faith, Uncategorized
Comments 8

Night Vision, Halogen Headlights, and a Friend in the Darkness

A rising full moon and crystal sprinkling of stars shone clear as we drove the mountain pass that leads through the Cascade mountains towards home. 

'Moon Over Bourbon Street' photo (c) 2010, Jinx! - license:

We thanked God for dry roads, free of ice and January’s customary snow, for a car that performed and the safety we experienced. But, inside, I felt fear. I felt it nudging along my spine, dispelling any sense of peacefulness; I felt it’s grip tightening on my neck; I felt the arrows of doubt, those thoughts I tried so hard to deflect, piercing my confidence:

It could happen again.

And, if it does, will your children escape this time?

What are the odds of surviving similar life-threatening injuries out here, this far from cities, hospitals and emergency care?

Careful breaths brought momentary comfort. I employed my habit of replacing doubts with truth, logic and scripture.

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation — whom shall I fear? {Psalm 27:1}

I will never leave you or forsake you. {Hebrews 13:5}

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything…present your requests to God. {Philippians 4:6}

We overcame the summit and descended into the windswept plains of central Washington state. Stark, jet-black silhouettes of pine and tamarack gave way to more ambiguous hills, tenacious scrub brush and the occasional flash of the Columbia river, ribboning through the rough landscape toward its Pacific destination.

As we descended, we sank into a deep fog.

A monochrome of watery gray, as thick as a painter’s washwater, colorless and absorbing, surrounded us. Headlights did little but cast impotent candle-flickers on the road. Shadows and silhouettes, moonglow and starshine smudged together in a boggy, clouded and heavy darkness.

Mile after mile we pushed on.

My neck muscles  were losing the battle with fear. Would I ever be excited for the adventure of a roadtrip again? Was this what a psychologist would label Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Why, when the God who protected me through the most frightening experience of my life, did I now feel strapped into the straightjacket of anxiety, clasped with the sharp, metallic buckles of terror? Helplessness, like this watery fog, threatened to stop my mental listing of hope-filled verses of an all-powerful God. Could my “God Who Sees” see us here, on the freeway, careening through sightlessness to who-knows-what disaster?

Our mirrors reflected a light behind us. A pair of bright, halogen lights rushed toward the back of our van. A left-turn signal flashed in the fog. The big pick-up truck, a later model Ford, had a pair of effective head-lamps, and from it’s left lane position, illumined our path.

Then the driver did something curiously personal. For several miles he drove alongside us, ahead by just a few feet, and shared his light. We tagged along, like a child holding his father’s hand, grateful for the visibility he leant us, aware of our own headlights’ weakness. His powerful beams cut an illuminating swath across the thick veil of fog enabling us both to safely drive onward. And with his light came confidence.

And the fog became less of an enemy. The darkness and uncertainty lost their grip. The comfort of the light loosened the fear-grasp on my neck. I breathed and truth ebbed into the cracks of my soul:

Come to me, weary one. Take my yoke upon you. {Matthew 11:29}

Follow me. {Matthew 9:9}

I am the Light of the World. {John 8:12}

The Lord is near. {Philippians 4:5}

The God of all comfort…comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we have received from God….Christ our Comfort overflows. {1 Corinthians 1:4-5}

And the verse that God’s spirit etched across my mind on so many occasions, like the time I held the hand of a beautiful Ethiopian woman dying of AIDS, like the moments before the accident that summer night that crushed my leg and lung:

The Lord is my light and my salvation–

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life–

Of whom shall I be afraid? {Psalm 27:1}

And this one thing I knew as the pick-up truck finally pulled farther ahead of us, leaving us with a wordless message of light and comfort:

I am still confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart

And wait for the Lord. {Psalm 27:13-14}

He always shows up. Always.


Friend, you are not alone in your journey. Whatever steals your joy, whatever causes you to hold your breath in fear, whatever hardship or threat looms in your vision cannot overwhelm the light of Jesus’ love for you and his ultimate power over everything. Like a friend on a dark highway, he will lend you light, strengthen you, comfort your spirit and guide you safely toward his embrace. Keep pushing forward — you will see his light in your rearview mirror. I know this, not just from my experience, but because His Word gives us that promise; and His Word never, ever fails.



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  1. oh my goodness. His faithfulness is so clearly evident in this story. What a faith-builder this is for you…and for all of us who read it. Much love to you.

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