There is a song by the band Rend Collective that I simply had to download onto my iPod. It is a catchy tune that talks about God being a lighthouse. Often, our projectionist at church, Steve, talks about the band or the song itself, and sometimes, if you arrive at church early, you might just catch him blaring it from the sound system.
I love the analogy. If God could be anything to me, it would certainly be a lighthouse. Since I am visually impaired, I often find myself looking for landmarks or light in the distance to lead me forward. As the song by Rend Collective states, He’s “the brightest” light that can lead us through storms. If I can find any comfort in going through this thing called life, I would want to be assured of a lighthouse to bring me back to shore when the world spins out of control.
A real life “lighthouse-like” experience happened for me in 2008. I had been battling through depression as I explored what God might have for me in the next phase of my life’s journey. I had not yet succumbed to allergies and illness at this point, but I was restless and longing for direction. I accepted my father’s invitation to stay with my parents at their home about two-and-a-half hours from my hometown. I literally dropped everything to escape to their house for an undetermined time frame.
Since I can’t drive, the only transportation I could manage to find to make this happen was through my father himself. He had a few commitments in the Twin Cities one night, so after his meetings were finished, he drove an hour out of his way to pick me up. He didn’t get to my house until almost 10:00 p.m., which gave us a pretty late start in our travels.
As some of you may be aware, depression and desperation can create a perfect storm of extreme exhaustion. But I couldn’t sleep that evening in the car. Instead, I held my dad’s GPS in my lap. Since I was unable to see out the window, the lighted GPS screen gave me a pretty good idea of where we were going. I followed the map forward until suddenly, the map disappeared.
“The map is gone,” I remember saying to him as we continued to drive along.
“Yeah, we’re probably in a dead spot,” he said. “The satellites will catch up with us.”
Immediately, I understood. My parents live in a very rural area: lots of hills, valleys, open fields, etc. A great deal of farmers work the land in addition to the Amish. In fact, my parents’ home town at that time didn’t even register on the map since it was unincorporated. You could easily say we were in the middle of nowhere.
But just as my dad promised, soon the satellites caught up to us and the map once more appeared on the screen. But it wasn’t long until we hit another dead spot. My dad told me that I might as well put away the GPS because it wasn’t going to register anything before we got to the house. So I put the GPS away and simply looked out the window. However, I couldn’t see anything in the darkness. My eyes misted over a little bit just out of sheer frustration. Not only was it dark all around me, but my internal life was dark as well. Would this time with my parents bring me some resolution, I wondered. Would I ever see the light?
But just as I started to grow really uneasy, I saw a hint of light on the horizon.
“Is that…?” I dared to ask.
“Yeah, that’s Greenleafton coming up,” he said, sounding almost as relieved as I had become. “We’re almost home.”
In a matter of moments, we drove into the tiny, unincorporated town and then into the driveway of my parents’ house. It wasn’t long before I found myself in the guest bedroom, getting ready for bed. It was past midnight, but I didn’t care. I was safe, secure, and at rest. Although I hadn’t traveled by sea through a raging storm, the journey had been long and tedious nonetheless. The lights of Greenleafton had been a beacon of hope.
I can’t help but listen to Rend Collective’s “My Lighthouse” with resounding clarity. It was God’s love that brought me through that night. I was seeking earthly comfort in my parents’ home, but God used those circumstances to bring me spiritual rest as well. In the coming days, I began to explore His calling on my life. Although I would endure quite the journey in future months, I was able to find a moment of clarity and direction. For that season, He had “carried me safe to shore” (paraphrase of “My Lighthouse” lyric). I was home.