Shad·ow noun \ˈsha-(ˌ)dō\ : an area of darkness created when a source of light is blocked

It is March in New England. It has been a real winter. As I write this we are getting yet a few more inches of snow! I’m beginning to wish I could see this shadow in the warm sand:

DSC_0450Instead of this photo of the shadows on the snow:

DSC_0606

All these shadows are created when light is blocked. The shadows resemble trees, but they are not trees. And we would not really think to call them trees.

Our lives can be like the shadows. God’s word tells us that we see as in a mirror dimly. Speaking on two levels: visual and spiritual, what we perceive as real is actually a distortion of reality because light is being blocked by evil and sin. Psalm 144:4 tells us, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” Job agrees: “… our days on earth are a shadow.” We do not see or understand God or our current lives the way God does. Our perspective is distorted by “lack of light.”

Paul writes in Colossians 2:17, “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” So much of what we focus on here is a shadow, an incomplete representation of what God considers important. I know. If I let myself, I can be the queen of busy! So I cry out like King David, “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,” Psalm 57:1

God knows our lack of light is a problem, but He has taken the initiative to mercifully provide light for us. He never intended for us to be alone and He has never truly left us alone, even if we feel like He has.  He sent Jesus, who proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He brings light, clarity and purpose into our lives. When we focus our attention on God and His word, above the shadows, He shines His light and His truth and leads us on a level path.

When we have good things, like the beauty of these shadow photographs, and the ‘real’ earthly places they represent, we can give thanks to our creator and acknowledge like James did: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (1:17) Life and the light of God is a gift. He knows exactly who we are and what we face. God never changes and His desire for all of us is always good. He freely gives us the light we need when we ask. (Maybe not in our timing, but in His perfect time.

So, whether I am on the cold snow or warm sand, I thank God that He hides me in the shelter of His wings. He has given me breath and purpose. His light leads me on a level path. As I walk through this shadowy life, sometimes even through the valley of the shadow of death, God is still present. God is still good.

And often, so are His shadows…. especially the palm tree shadows when it is single digits outside=}

Andrea (Madden) Van Boven : I like to think I am a radical lover of Jesus, but I live in a house and pay bills and look like I fit in with respectable society, like most people. What goes on in my head and heart are hopefully the things that betray the look of "normal" that comes at first glance. I hope those things inside of me seep out to actions as well as words of hope and encouragement. I pray that these in turn will lead others to know the loving creator who knows us so intimately that he has a number for every hair on every head.

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