A vivid point of light from Scripture

The streamlined diesel train awaits passengers at Playland Amusement Park in Willow Springs, IL.

“We all need a vivid point of light from Scripture — a particular verse that resonates with us personally, to guide or paths and give us a reference point, no matter the size of the waves.”- Bill Hybels, Simplicity (2014)

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”- Psalm 18:28

Playland Amusement Park, once located in present-day Willow Springs, IL, opened in mid-summer 1950.  On summer weekday afternoons in the late 1950s,  my next door neighbor, Dorothy Podewell, would take her son Cliff, my mom Elinor, and me to Playland- about a ten-mile drive from Evergreen Park.

Primarily a kiddie park with a total of 30-40 rides, Playland provided minimal landscaping, with dirt and gravel paths.  Although Playland charged no admission, patrons paid per ride.  Upon arriving, I’d immediately head for my favorite ride, the streamlined diesel train.  At one point it ran through a 300-foot tunnel.  In general, I gravitated toward rides that maintained direct contact with terra firma, like the Electric Street Cars.  If I felt particularly daring, I’d try my hand at the bumper cars!  And to cool off, a refreshing strawberry soda beckoned at the concession stand.

By 1979, Playland’s simplicity no longer competed with larger, fancier amusement parks like Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.  Playland closed.  Hence, today a mobile home park occupies the site.

Writing in Simplicity, Pastor Bill Hybels asserts that, when adversity batters us and we’re most likely to go off-course, a “life verse” guides us back to what matters most.  In other words, a vivid point of light.  Pastor Hybels defines a life-verse as:

  • a powerful, clarifying tool when it comes to simplifying our lives
  • a short passage of Scripture serving as a rallying cry to guide and focus the current season of your life, or your life as a whole
  • carefully chosen after prayerful consideration- resonates with you in a personal way
  • a continual guide back to God’s mission and vision for your life

Furthermore, Pastor Hybels describes three key reasons and benefits for choosing a life-verse:

1.  It clarifies what matters most.  As a Christ follower, God’s given you an earthly assignment that makes specific use of your unique gifts.  Thus, your life  verse reflects God’s particular guidance in your life.  Read, write, or recite your life verse every day.  It always recenters you on your purpose.

2.  It calls out the best in me.  Your life verse calls out the best in you.  Therefore, it minces no words.  Also, it provides blindingly clear marching orders for your life.  Most importantly, a Christ follower’s motivation should come from within.

3.  It brings comfort.  Every effort you expend to advance the purposes of God in this world is never in vain.  Whether your effort is big or small, visible or invisible, God Himself notices and appreciates your effort.  Ultimately, you do what you do for an audience of one.  Guided by a vivid point of light from Scripture.

Comments

  1. Ruth Hansen says:

    Thanks, David. A sweet remembrance of Playland Amusement Park, but also a good reminder of the importance of having a life verse. Mine is Matthew 25:40, with the full import of the parable behind it. Grace and peace to you!

  2. Rick Borger says:

    Great devotional! In college back in 1965 I felt God gave me Proverbs 3:5-6 as my life verses. Then about fifteen years ago as I was teaching adult SS and approaching early retirement from Milwaukee County I felt God giving me Matthew 6:33-34 to sustain me through my retirement years. I have no fear of running short of money to live on as a “fixed income” because I’m firmly believing that God has called me to a a good steward of what He has provided and He has “fixed my income” for these years as long as I remain obedient to His calling. We serve an awesome God!! Pastor Rick

  3. Mickey Watley says:

    Mine are Isaiah 55:8-9 and Psalm 139. Verses of such comfort and wisdom. Thanks Dave. God is good…all the time.

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