My word for 2016 is illuminate. I have spent my year examining illuminations naturally, spiritually, and even metaphorically. I’ve been captivated by the luminaries from the God-created heavens to man-made fixtures. I’ve come to know every synonym of the word as I’ve actively sought illumination for every dark and unknown path in my life. I’ve been a seeker of light and this journey continues into the final days of this year. Every way I turn I see or hear something that causes me to return to that word…..illuminate.  

A few days ago I found myself alone in the car for a period of time. I used that time to pray about thisthat, and other things. But it was “this” subject that was consuming my focus. It is one of those concerns that has pressed so hard against my heart that sometimes the next breath seems strained. My prayers quickly turned from faith into begging for God’s immediate intervention and help in my “ever-present time of need.” I was being overcome by the cares of this life and seemingly unable to find my peace in prayer. I think my mighty prayer ended with, “don’t you know how important this is to me, God? Don’t you care about my heart after all of these years?”  

Almost at my destination, I stopped my begging prayer. I put on my public face and shut down the longings, shut down the emotion, shut down the pain. As I switched gears internally, I flipped on the radio. Now that I was silent, it was God’s turn to speak to me:

If you could only let your guard down
You could learn to trust me somehow
I swear, that I won’t let you go
If you could only let go your doubts
If you could just believe in me now
I swear, that I won’t let you go
I won’t let you go
When your fear is currency
And you feel that urgency
You want peace but there’s war in your head
Maybe that’s where life is born
When our façades are torn
Pain gives birth to the promise ahead
If you could let the pain of the past go
Of your soul
None of this is in your control.

~ I Won’t Let you Go, Switchfoot

I sat there in the turn lane with my mouth open as all kinds of truth broke in like a flood over my dry and weary soul. I’m not normally a “let the Bible fall open on a timely scripture” or a “rainbow in the sky at the right moment”, much less a “flip on the radio and the song was for me” kind of person. But, there was no doubt that this song was 100% meant for my ears at that very moment. God, it seems, always knows how to be right on time after all. Fighting back a little shame over my little faith, I jotted down the song title and hopped out of my car for my appointment at hand.

When I got home a few hours later I looked up the song and discovered it was by Switchfoot, one of my favorite bands. But it was when I saw the album title that joy, peace, hope, love, repentance, relief, and security all washed over me at the exact same time. You see, God was saying so much more to me than what that one song could communicate. Not only will He “not let go” if I let my guard down, but He will also bring illumination! Unbelievably, this song brought into my life at exactly the right moment in time was from an album called “Where the Light Shines Through”.

Cue the waterworks, now I was undone.  

My relationship with my heavenly Father is unique, and so is yours. It’s because we are formed and fashioned for a different purpose and all have our own love language. Out of all the songs that could’ve been used to lead me through the darkness I was in at that exact moment in time, God used one tied to a project about light. That’s not a coincidence at all; it’s a fierce and powerful love. He’s been teaching me all year that light only comes in the broken places. It’s the promise I have that helps me – in any situation I face – find my next breath. Light ALWAYS overcomes the darkness. 

“For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” Psalms 18:28(NKJV).