Sunday, February 20, 2011
The Other Side of Light
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High / Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
Light. It’s warm rays provide comfort and cheer as they bathe our world with sight, direction and hope. Life on earth could not exist without light. But there is a phenomenon of light we don’t often consider: Light creates shadows. These shades and shifting shapes are evidence that light has come.
There are eighty-one biblical references to shadows. While nineteen of these use the word in a negative sense—as in the “shadow of death” —the majority refers to physical shade or the author wants to express ideas of protection, comfort and shelter. To be in the shadow of something larger than ourselves is a good thing. And it’s only made possible because we are dwelling near the light.
Christians often become confused or discouraged when they sense they are walking in “shadows.” Perhaps they have prayed for God’s leading but can’t seem to find the right trail. Or, the vibrant colors they once experienced in worship have faded to muted tones. Or they feel God has set them aside. While others reap in the bright sunshine of harvest, they are forced to idle alone in the shade.
Yet, there is no need to despair. Shadows are not the backside of God. Indeed, they can be evidence of His face and when we adjust our eyes to see shadows from a biblical perspective, we may welcome them rather than accusing the One who makes shadows possible.
Never assume spiritual shadows must be punishment or correction. If we have searched our heart and honestly find no unconfessed sin or rebellion, we should rest! The Holy Spirit is very willing and quick to expose such things if we ask. Trust Him. If you missed something, He will let you know. The shadow may only be the arms of an ancient, solid oak reaching out with protection and an offer of rest.
As the gentle shade swallows us, we may gaze with envy toward brighter fields, but our Father knows what is best. He may use the shade to whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.”
If we allow the shadows of God to have their perfect work in our life, we will soon become as content in shade as in open sunlight. We will know that just because the light dims, it doesn’t mean God has left us alone in the dark. We may even learn to appreciate our shelter. If we’ll rest quietly, the slower pace, indistinct lines, muted colors may reveal a different kind of beauty we have never noticed before.
When God chose a time of day to walk side by side with Adam and Eve, He picked the cool of the evening. The blaze of day was fading. Shadows were lengthening. The garden was taking on a misty indistinct glow. If we will trust Him, we may find the shadows in our garden of our life to be the most pleasant places we ever walk alone with our God.