“Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and Wait….”
How many times has this refrain whispered in our ears over the past 19 years?
We Waited through a two-year engagement before experiencing the joy of marriage. A decade of infertility followed as we endured 10 losses to miscarriage and unsuccessful adoption attempts. Then came the bitter surprise of post-partum depression.
Entering our 20th year of living with chronic illness, we’re still Waiting and looking for answers to my daily pain and ongoing loss of abilities.
Have you ever heard someone describe a time of trial as, “living under the shadow of [xyz]”? Plug in some “xyz”s of your own here; maybe cancer, abuse, loneliness…
Job and the Psalmist talk of “the valley of the shadow of death.” Shadows impress a dark picture of gloom and heaviness in my mind.
Hope demands I give shadows another look. God paints shadows in a positive light many times through His Word.
The Psalms sing repeatedly of “taking refuge under the shadow of His wing,” or “resting in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Hebrews describes the best of this life (the Lord’s Sanctuary and the Law) as a foretaste, a copy, a shadow of what is to come in Heaven. To God, shadows offer protection and glimmer with Hope.
It took our 2-year-old to really illustrate this point to me:
“Where my shadow go, Mommy?”
“Your shadow is sleeping, Sweetheart. It’s dark because it’s nighttime, but we just need to get you to the potty now. You did a great job waking up to keep your pants dry, so let’s get there quick!”
As we reached the restroom I flipped on the light.
“There my shadow are now Mommy! Thank you Mommy!!!”
He danced a happy jig (almost having an “accident” in the process), all signs of sleepiness erased from his glowing face.
Long after our sweet son was soundly sleeping once again, I lay awake reflecting on the pure joy he found in shadows. While I tried to escapee shadows, he saw them as treasures.
I asked the Lord for strength to see my troubles through more childlike eyes that could delight in, and even thank Him for, the imprints they cast over my life. It was then that I realized that shadows are merely evidenced by light.
What Hope! The more deeply I feel the weight of a shadow fall across my path, the more powerful the source of Light that contrasts with that shadow.
I too often fixate on darkness rather than finding courage to stand in shadows because of the Light flooding around me. Being “helpless” to change my circumstances does not need to equal “hopeless” despair.
Hope can thrive in shadows because of the steady, unshakeable, unmoving Hand of Grace holding me in the light of His love. When trials threaten to overshadow me, I can rest in the refuge of the shadow of His wing.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.- Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
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