In Southern California, sometimes the power companies turn the power off for thousands of customers if so much as a leaf moves on a tree. Some areas are windier than others. But it seems that every area must have its turn without power if the lines are above ground. Thankfully there is a hill behind our housing track, so we don’t have much wind. They do this because, in recent years, California has had several devastating wildfires. The power companies are trying to ensure they are not the ones to blame. So to cut liability, they shut the power off when it’s windy.
One day, my Christian/Catholic friend brought me a beautiful candle. She wanted me to have it if the world went dark. Little did she know MY world would go dark 3 days later. She purchased the candle, had it blessed, and brought it over to me in a beautiful gift bag. My heart was touched by her kindness and thoughtfulness.
Several days later, when our power did go out, I was in the shower. My hair was full of shampoo. Thankfully my son turned on his cell phone (with the flashlight feature) and slipped it under the bathroom door. It was nearly bedtime, so we all decided to just go to bed. My hair was still wet, though I tried to towel dry it as best as possible.
When we got up the following day, the power was still off. I thought, oh dear, this will be a long day. I looked outside, and it was still windy; I knew we wouldn’t get it back anytime soon. And you see that hill that blocks us from experiencing all the wind that hits our valley? Well, it also blocks cell coverage down to 1 bar. I hate to admit it, but we are all highly addicted to our screens.
That day was challenging to manage, especially since it was during covid and we were all at home working and doing school. We had no cable, no Wi-Fi, no a/c, no lights, and very little cell phone battery. For breakfast, it was homemade pour-over coffee with grounds in the bottom of the cups. Using the bathroom was also a challenge, with battery tea candles providing a dim light, as none of our bathrooms have windows.
That night for dinner, we made sloppy joes by flashlight. Thank God for gas-lit stoves. But when we sat down at the table, we needed better light. I lit the new beeswax candle beside a battery-powered tea lights row. It was so beautiful! We ate dinner by candlelight. That evening, looking outside, we saw such complete darkness. Usually, street lights and parking lot lights flood into our windows. So on any given night, it can be dark inside our house but not that dark outside. But this was different. There was no outside light flooding in. So that one large candle was our best light source.
After dinner, we pulled out our Yahtzee game. This is why we keep several board games in the closet. Right? Just in case everything else shuts down.
As I was waiting for my turn to throw the dice, I remembered just a few days ago when my precious friend gave me this candle. I thought about God providing beforehand for our needs. He knew our power would go out.
Throughout that day, my heart was sad. Life is so much harder without electricity. All my everyday tasks and habits include this utility. I was close to tears while eating dinner. This had been such a tough day, way out of my comfort zone.
But I looked at that candle burning, and it reminded me that God sees me. Even in this physical darkness that was shadowing my heart. I am loved by God. He is constantly taking care of me. He knows when life is going to be hard and prepares little things to remind me He cares.
So in the darkness, my darkness, I was able to count on El Roi – the God who sees me. I had needed Him in a new way that night.
God who sees me
The next day in the early afternoon, our power came back on. Neighbors along our street came out their front doors into the street and yelled for joy; it was quite a sight. Then we all went inside and got busy. I cleaned up the kitchen, started the dishwasher, and plugged in all our devices to start the recharging process.
Then I put our collection of candles and battery-powered lights away. That morning I went to the store and purchased more candles. I will be more prepared for the next power outage. I also got a light for each bathroom to even take a shower if we needed it. Lastly, as I put that lovely new gift candle away, the one my friend, had given me, I remembered God’s faithfulness.
The next time I take that candle out, I will remember the lesson it taught me. El Roi-God, who sees me.
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