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Some seeking the light look in the wrong direction


Pastoral Pondering

Have you ever been desperate for some “light?”

During a difficult season of need and seeking, I went for my early morning drive-thru latte as usual, but had a hair-brained idea as I sipped and sat at the stop sign. I decided to drive to the coast to watch the sunrise. I had a surprisingly free morning and at that time of day, midweek, I could actually drive there in about an hour and 15 minutes and then drive back by my 11 a.m. meeting. So I went, thinking the whole way that I was a bit crazy to do this.

I remember it was No­vember because it was quite windy and a bit stormy — normal weather for Oregon that time of year. As I parked my car at the park overlooking the beach and shoreline, I could see and hear the ocean and just sat there in the dark waiting, longing for the sunrise, sensing perhaps it will be symbolic for me in this season of my life. I thought I saw the sky lighten a bit but in my impatience for “light,” I decided to get out of my car and stood next to it, wind blowing my hair wildly, and cried out “Ok, Lord, I’m listening. What do you want to say to me?”

And as clearly as I have heard anyone speak to me in my entire life, I had a clear thought that I recognized a voice to be God: “Turn around, the sun rises in the east.”

Sure enough, as I turned around I saw the light breaking slowly over the tree tops and starting to spread across the sky. I about doubled-over laughing and wondered later why someone didn’t call the police on the crazy, directionally-challenged woman laughing hysterically on the beach.

But because he never wastes a teachable moment, as I got into my car and indeed turned around to go home, he said, “Many are seeking light, looking in the wrong direction. Will you help them turn around?”

You may be quite clear that east is not west and west is not east, but perhaps in this season of your life the right direction to turn is not quite as clear to you. Perhaps you are longing for direction, a way to turn around and find some light, some spiritual “Vitamin D.” If so, here are some words that I find encouraging: “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12).

His light, the brightness of his love and desire for relationship with us, will never lead us west when we really need to go east for the sunrise.

The Rev. Diane Endicott is a Free Methodist pastor and serves as an on-call chaplain at Providence Newberg Medical Center