Why I love lighthouses
My sister Katherine and I stood in the entrance of the hotel lobby and peered out at the gloomy weather. “Are you sure you still want to take the boat today?” she asked me dubiously. I took in the grey skies and the steady drizzle. “Well, we didn’t fly all the way out here to sit in the hotel room,” I declared. We pulled our coats tighter around us, put up our hoods, and headed out into the gloom.
Jesus is a lighthouse
What compelled me to drag my sister out into the dreariness and charge across the ocean in the freezing downpour during our Seattle vacation? I had to see the lighthouse.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
A lighthouse is like Jesus. But even before I accepted Jesus, lighthouses fascinated me. I was drawn to their constancy. Solid and faithful, lighthouses stand firm in their position. When oceans are storming and cold waves collide with the rocky shore, the powerful beacon of a lighthouse both warns travelers away from danger and lights the way home.
A new meaning
Now that I have Jesus in my heart, lighthouses have a special significance. In this temporary world, our circumstances including our friends, jobs, and homes can all change. Even our family can change. Through any tumult, the eternal light and love of God stays bright.
“the people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned.”
Katherine and I got lost looking for the lighthouse. “How can it be so hard to find?” she asked. “Its whole point is to be seen!” Through the cold Seattle rain, we traversed through an open meadow, wound through a pine forest, and slogged through muddy paths. We asked a family we came across if they knew where the lighthouse was. “I think it’s somewhere that way,” the dad told us, squinting and waving his hand in a 180 degree radius.
“I’m still cold from that day!” Katherine teases me.
Based on the maps we pieced together from trail signs and our spotty GPS, Katherine and I went along until at last we saw the coast and the lighthouse, symbolic of Jesus. Veering from the path, we took a shortcut through the terrain until we reached the base. There it was - the lighthouse which beckoned home the lost with brilliant light, just as Jesus had welcomed me back to Him after decades of separation.
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations.”
~ Isaiah 42:6
By this time, the wind was gusting in strong surges, whipping through our scarves and long hair. The waves slammed into the rocky outpost. My sister rounded a corner and I briefly lost sight of her. When I caught up with her, she was soaking wet. “I got too close to the edge,” she yelled over the wind. I had to admit that perhaps we were overly ambitious in our outdoor adventure. But it was worth it to see the lighthouse as a symbol of Jesus.
Safely back in our hotel room that night, warm and dry in our pajamas, Katherine and I reminisced about the day. “Next time, let’s stick to a museum,” she joked. Three years later, she fondly teases me about our rainy adventure. “I am still cold from that day,” she laughs. Though the cold and the wet were temporary, I will hold that memory of the lighthouse and Jesus with my sister throughout my lifetime, and the guiding light of God for eternity.
For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.