A number of years ago, I moved to a neighborhood closer to my job which I was excited about. One thing that I did not like about my new townhome was how dark it was in my backyard leading to where I parked my car. Even with the back-porch light on, I noticed my backyard was very dark and so one of the things I first things I did was have a motion detector light installed. Not being a mechanically inclined person, I asked a good friend if he would install it for me as a favor. When he came to set up the light, I noticed it didn’t take it long for him to put the light fixture up. Within a few minutes, he had the fixture connected and the light was working.
What took him the most time was to set the range for the light. As part of the process, he had me walk from the rear of my back yard toward the back door of my townhome a number of times to make sure that the light came on at the exact moment: I entered the back yard. After a few minutes of me walking back and forth and tweaking it the range, he told me that it was ready, gathered his tools and left.
It’s funny but I remember being so excited the first time I opened the gate to my backyard and the light came on. It’s not that I doubted that it would work, but it was beyond my understanding how the light would shine as soon as it detected me. I felt much safer knowing that all I had to do was make a motion like wave my hand and the light would come on all by itself.
Fast forward a few years and that same light protected me in a different way. And it was ironic that I was talking to the same friend who’d installed the light, when a neighbor came over and told me that she and my next-door neighbor had their cars broken into the night before. Because the area was relatively crime-free and quiet (and a few neighbors even left their cars unlocked), they were shocked at what happened.
Another neighbor shared that one witness noticed that my backyard light was on around 2:30 am but didn’t think anything about it. He then guessed that my light coming on probably scared away whoever was breaking into the cars. They even dropped the flashlight they’d been using as they apparently ran away. The best part for me was nothing was touched on my car.
Later, I thought about how the motion detector light had two purposes: it provided both exposure and protection at the same time. It reminded me of how God’s word can do the same thing. Psalms 119:105 says that God’s word is a “lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” God’s word provides protection when we need it but also gives light on those sometimes-dark paths that our lives may take us.
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @shewanda