|Christchurch Meadow, Oxford, in January.|
It has been a rather gray, drizzly day. Generally I love the rain, and I have enjoyed it today the few times it’s been heavy enough to actually pitter-patter, but coupled with people in our house not feeling very well—including me—and some general stress, it’s felt a bit dreary.
This evening I happened upon this entry in the old journal I kept during my semester studying abroad in Oxford several years ago—how glad I am we were required to keep this record, as otherwise I probably wouldn’t have found as much time for it as I did. But today, with the rain fretfully dripping outside my window, this bit from the heart of my homesick college self struck me anew.
|Oxford, “City of Dreaming Spires,” on a sunny day.|
During the last couple of weeks the reality of being thousands of miles from familiar territory and beloved faces has set in hard. However, the Lord has continued to be very, very faithful. …The weather hasn’t greatly helped any of our spirits; even those of us, including me, who like rain, enjoy cool weather, and didn’t think the perpetual clouds and mist of Oxford would bother us a bit, have found we were more accustomed to the California sun than we realized. I think the dimness makes the biggest difference; the sky lightens late and darkens early, and inside our house the lighting is rather limited as well. However, at the Farmers’ Market/Flea Market this Thursday I found a delightful little lamp, and its warm glow has done much to add brightness and cheer to my room, hitherto lighted only by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. I am so thankful for my little lamp; it makes all the difference in the world, which is quite a sermon, if you think about it.
Actually, the whole emblem of light has become rather significant to me. During the dark (literally and figuratively) days of sickness, culture shock (I did not realize how very different British culture would be, nor how difficult it is to be a “stranger in a strange land” and instantly label oneself as an outsider each time you open your mouth), and desperately missing my family, the three months before I could see them stretching out overwhelmingly ahead, the Lord encouraged me through a verse Mama sent: “For You light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness. For by You I can run upon a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” (Psalm 18:28-29).
|The back garden view from my little room in our flat.|
I wrote these verses, along with another, on sticky notes and posted them on my mirror, where they continue to remind me whenever I sit at my desk. Then on Thursday, at our weekly Faith and Learning Colloquium…I learned that the Oxford’s motto is “Dominus Illuminatio Mea,” which means, “The Lord is My Light.” He is… and this city’s frequent lack of natural light makes me all the more aware of my need for His.
And He was my Light, that semester in Oxford, which grew to be one of the most precious experiences of my life thus far as I saw His faithfulness and blessing shine through in the weeks that followed. I need so often to be reminded He is still my Light today.
Are you facing clouds, or darkness, in some way right now? Maybe the drizzle of disappointed dreams, or the thunderstorm of crisis, or just the fog of not knowing which way to go?
He will be your Light, if you ask Him to…even when you can’t see any other.
“Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of His servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.” ~Isaiah 50:10