We all have our own ways of dealing with the stresses of everyday life. I know people who have a stone that they leave in their locker at work, to symbolise leaving the stress of the day at the office. Others might go for a walk in the park or try to find five minutes’ peace and quiet with a cup of tea.

For me, running is a great stress reliever; it keeps me healthy both physically and mentally. As I’ve written about before, running has taught me a lot of about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Yet recently running in the dark has given new meaning to the famous words of Psalm 119, particularly verse 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” 

As the days get shorter, early morning runs often start in the dark. I live in London and I’m able to run along a beautiful section of the River Thames. In the dark mornings, I need to a head torch to see where I’m going. Recently, I was reflecting whilst running on the difference the head torch was making. It was a grey and murky morning (to be honest the murkiness of the morning was quite symbolic of how my head was feeling); I couldn’t be bothered with the day. 

Yet, as I ran my mind started reflecting on how the head torch was lighting my path and that made me think about what it means for God’s word to be a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Three points came to mind. 


First, the head torch was not lighting up the entire path. I couldn’t see what was to the right or left of me. Nor could I see more than 10 feet in front of me. However, I could see what I needed to see in order to avoid big puddles, potential ankle twisting bumps and other runners, dog walkers and cyclists I came across on the path. 

A lot of my worries and stresses in life come from me spending time looking at potentials of what might happen a few miles down the path. As a wise person recently said to me, If I spend my time looking through binoculars at events that are far away, I’m very likely to fall over things that are right in front of me.” 

I often want God’s word to light up everything that the future holds. Currently, in the turmoil of our political landscape, it would be great to know what the future holds. But I don’t need to know that; God does light my path, but only to illuminate what I currently need to see. As Jesus encourages us: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).

Second, sometimes I run with a friend in the morning. When there are two people with torches, it is easier to see more of the path. The combination of our lights has a greater impact. Being a disciple of Jesus is not a solo activity. Many times, in my journey of faith, God’s Spirit has worked through other people to help me better understand how God’s word is lighting my path in particular circumstances. 

As the writer to the Hebrews says: Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” (Hebrews 10:24 – 25). Who are you provoking to love and good deeds and who is encouraging you in your discipleship? The path is lighter when we run the race with others. 

Finally, as the sun started to come up on that murky morning, my torch began to have less of an impact. It wasn’t that my torchlight had stopped shining; the light of the sun was infusing everything. As Paul reminds us, we currently see in a mirror, dimly, but…we will see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Life can be hard, and each day potentially brings with it troubles and stresses. Yet, we can trust that God’s Spirit will, through His word, light our path each step of the way. At the same time, we look forward to the ultimate end when the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).

Photo by Fitsum Admasu.