I'll Leave the Light on for You


Give light and people will find the way.

—Ella Baker

The sun room in the condo where we’ve stayed in Big Sky, Montana the last couple of years overlooks a small lake hedged in by the small ski village. The village sits at the base of Lone Peak. And the view at sunrise is breathtaking.  

But, the view at day’s end is equally spectacular. As the sun slowly slips out of sight, the lights of the village begin to flicker on, polka-dotting the mountains darkening silhouette with a warm glow. Dusk paints the sky in broad strokes of watercolor pinks, purples and oranges.

It’s a scene I rarely miss. I tuck myself into a comfy chair and breathe in the beauty of God’s unfolding majesty.

As nightfall descends, and with it the waning hours, one-by-one the lights of the village go out.

Save one.

A solitary light shines out against the deepening darkness from Lone Peaks starry summit.

From my bed, I can look out the window and gaze up at that light. It is strangely soothing to me. Like the words that Galadriel spoke to Frodo in the book, The Lord of Rings. “And for you, Frodo Baggins, I give you the light of Eärendil our most beloved star. May it be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.”

The light atop Lone Peak is a light in dark places when all other lights go out. 

As my thoughts begin to tumble one-upon-another in my head, I quietly slip out of bed and back into the cozy chair that I love, and give freedom to my thoughts.

I scribble down the first three words that spring to mind as I gaze up at Lone Peak: Protection. Direction. Comfort.

I stand to look out the window and scan the horizon from east to west. It may seem crazy, but, the mountains seem to all but disappear in the blackest darkness.


I imagine a light brightly shining from the tallest peak in the region would surely be a blessed gift of protection, especially for pilots. Think of the tragedies that would occur if the light atop Lone Peak went out. Like the light on top of transmission towers and skyscrapers, the light atop Lone Peak warns pilots of impending danger and thereby safeguards against loss of life and cargo.

When I ponder further, an old saying whispers to my heart, “I’ll leave the light on for you.” 

What do you think of when you hear that statement? (Besides Motel 6.) Close your eyes and think about it for a moment. When someone leaves the light on for you, what do you expect to find when you arrive?

We happened to arrive quite late to a friend’s house last spring, but, they didn’t just leave the light on for us, they waited up to welcome us. When someone leaves the light on for you, you expect at the very least a safe place to lay your head.  

I pray that the light I bear will also be a beacon of protection, a safe place for people in this ever-darkening world.  

You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all.

Matthew 5:14-16


Some years back a dear friend of mine got lost for several days in the Colorado Rockies. It was a harrowing ordeal, both for her and for those of us beseeching God for protection on her behalf.  

Have you ever gotten lost? I sure have. It’s frightening to lose your bearings and wander helplessly. All it takes is one wrong turn down an unfamiliar path and you’re in trouble. That’s precisely how my friend got lost in the Rockies.  

Nowadays we turn to our cell phones to get directions. But, out in the woods you may not have reception. Then what?  

You may have to turn to more rudimentary tools, like tracking the sun to determine which is east or west. Or if it’s dark, you look for lights—the moon, city lights or a light like the one shining from Lone Peak.  

Lone Peak stands head and shoulders above the mountain range. And in the dark, that shining light acts as a compass. A way home.

The same can be true of the light that burns within us.

Not everyone who wanders directionless, feeling lost and alone, is out in the woods somewhere. They may be your next-doorneighbor, your coworker, a friend or an acquaintance. Imagine what God could do in this old world of ours if we left our light on for those who are simply looking for a little guidance in life.  

Jesus was always on the lookout for those who were lost. If we would simply share his light with them, they would immediately be blessed with a light of their own.

I will turn the darkness into light in front of them and the rough places into level ground. I won’t ever abandon them.

Isaiah 42:16




When my boys were little they liked having a nightlight on when it got dark in their room. A little light goes a long way when you feel a bit scared.


And who doesn’t need a little reassurance now and again?


I know I sure do. Perhaps that’s why these blessed Scripture verses minister to me so much.


You, Lord, are the light that keeps me safe. I have nothing to fear.

Psalm 27:1


Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”

John 8:12


I gaze up at the light on Lone Peak one last time and whisper a prayer heavenward — before I slip back into bed.


“Sweetest Savior, may your light of love shine in me in such a way, that folks find it a welcoming, safe place to escape the shadows of night. And for those who feel lost may your light in me guide them to your heart. And may it be a balm of assurance and comfort for those who are afraid. And when I am needing protection, direction and comfort, help me look to you.”


P.S. Thank you, Jesus, that you always leave the light on for us.





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Julie has been inspiring children, youth, and women as a speaker, teacher, silent retreat leader, author and mentor for over 30 years. She was the Director of Women's Bible Studies at Eagle Brook Church, is a certified Spiritual Director and the owner of Heart Matters Publishing Company. She is an alumnus of Bethel University and Christos Center for Spiritual Formation. As an author she has written Bible Study Curriculum and Devotionals, including her latest collaboration, Whispers of God's Grace. Julie draws on her wide range of life experiences, humor and love of God's Word and His creation for her writing. When she is not writing, you will find her absorbed in a good book, puttering in her garden or dreaming of France. Julie and her husband, Rey, live in White Bear Lake, MN and are the parents of two grown sons, Erik and Kyle.




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