There have been times in my life when I have been so far away from the light of Christ that I haven't even been aware that I wasn't seeing clearly. It's a strange thing to look back now and be able to see with absolute clarity the darkness that surrounded me then and the decisions that I shouldn't have made. But it seems like when you're busy travelling down the wrong path, it doesn't dawn on you that there even IS another path to take.
To be in the darkness is a scary and lonely place to be. It doesn't matter what path you take, or even how far you get away from your path- it's all still going away from the light and heading in the wrong direction! You literally cannot find your way if you aren't heading toward Christ's light. What's even scarier is that most of the time you aren't aware that you're away from His light. You might notice feelings of being uncomfortable, lonely, depressed, hopeless, or worthless. It affects the way you think, feel, and act. And it distorts the way you see everything around you.
When we are drawn to the light of Christ, though, He provides a beacon and a guide to help us to stay on the path that will lead us safely towards Him. Sometimes we have to take a few steps into the unknown before that light more fully illuminates our view, but it's always there. I don't think that God ever has us step into the darkness. I think that at our darkest hours there is still a dim glow, an assurance that He is there.
So how do we find our way back to His light? How do we open our eyes and see more clearly? I think it's amazing that the answers are right in front of us. They're the most basic, yet at the same time the most profound. They're the same things you've heard over and over again, but maybe haven't fully embraced.
We need to pray, not just when we're in need, but daily, hourly, with thanksgiving and with hope. We need to pour our hearts out to our Heavenly Father and plead for forgiveness and guidance. And then we need to not only listen for His answers, but we need to search them out. Really study the scriptures, feast upon them, hunger for His words, and look for the answers He is trying to give us. We need to make the effort to meet together in church on Sunday and renew our covenants with the Lord. What better way to be reminded of His mercy, His grace, and His sacrifice, than to partake of the sacrament? As we start to do these basic things, we will blessed with an outpouring of His light and His love. He doesn't wait until we've fully repented, or until we're firm and unmovable on the right path- as soon as we take a step towards Him He shines His light on us and tries to start guiding us back.
It's absolutely amazing to watch the transformation that comes into someone's life when they decide that it's time to walk with the Lord, instead of wandering on their own unmarked path. I can look back at my own life and see the miraculous changes that have occurred, and the beauty of the light and clarity that are in my life now. I'm filled with sadness and sorrow for those I see around me who are so often walking in the darkness without understanding that the well-lit path is the one that leads to happiness, contentment, love and joy. But I also try to keep my hope alive, because I know that it is never too late for someone to turn around, there is no soul out there that is too lost or too far away for Christ's atonement to not be effective. What a blessing to have the knowledge of our Savior and His love, and an even greater blessing to know that I can be surrounded and filled with His light as I continue pushing forward on the path towards Him.