It was 5:20 AM last Saturday, when I clicked into my cross-country skis on a hilltop somewhere in the Sisters Wilderness. I had traversed this beautiful wilderness for the past few days with a group of friends, but today I was heading out on my own to get home early. It was pitch black. I turned my headlamp on, and it illuminated the direct path in front of me, but barely. I could only see a few strides ahead of where I stood.

At this point, some very dramatic things began to play through my mind, which if you think about it (dark, snowy Sisters Wilderness with no cell service), weren't overly dramatic because they were entirely within the realm of possibility. I couldn’t see the trail markers in the trees, so I kept worrying I’d take the wrong path, never to find my way back home. I also began to imagine there were cliffs, just beyond my headlamp’s beam, where gravity was waiting to pull me down into some horrible abyss. And then, I remembered the large animal tracks we’d seen the previous day and the words “Mountain Lion” were on a continuous loop in my head.

I needed light – not man-made light that reveals partial landscapes – but powerful light, like the sun, that reveals everything beneath it. I wanted to have real light so I could see the path ahead and avoid unwelcome detours and falls. But at the same time, did I really want that kind of light? Is it better to see the mountain lion before it chomps you down? Or in this case, is a surprise attack the better option?

As I follow Christ, I often find myself in this conundrum. I want Jesus, the light of the world, to illuminate the external darkness so I can live without fear. But the problem is that his light also reveals the darkness within. Out of fear of facing the truth, I’d rather live a partially illuminated life that allows me to manage the external without surrendering the internal.

Zechariah spoke these words before Jesus was even born, “Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79.

Our Morning Light’s gift is revelation, not for condemnation, but for immediate and ongoing salvation.

Would you invite Jesus, the light of the world, to reveal what hides and lurks in the shadows of your heart? Would you ask him for the courage to face that which goes unseen, but if left in the dark will devour you in an instant, or through the slow erosion of time? And as his light reveals that which we’d rather not face, would you surrender it to Jesus who is rich in mercy? He will meet you with tenderness and care. There is freedom and peace in Jesus.

With Love,


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1