Shadows may seem like illusions but they are very real.
Something through which light cannot pass blocks the source of illumination and casts a shadow.
- On a clear day, we trace the progress of the sun by the length and shape of the shadow of our house.
- A cloudy day is a day of shadows from horizon to horizon, the sun is hidden behind the overcast skies and the whole world below turns in shadow.
- Riding in a plane, high above the earth, we can sometimes see the shadow of the plane racing across the ground far below, wiggling wildly as it traces the topography of the earth, effortlessly climbing hills, exploring canyons, and running across lakes and streams.
Shadows tell us truths.
They may not carry much weight as they stretch longer and longer as the day draws to a close, but shadows carry important information:
- The day begins in long shadows from the east, signally that we have a fresh set of mercies from the hand of the Lord.
- Clouds pass between us and the noonday sun, gathering for an afternoon of rain by the barrel, bolts of lightning, and blasting breezes to make us run for cover.
- As the storm passes, light streams through the retreating clouds casting colors, not shadows, as a rainbow circles part of the earth with a promise.
The Scriptures tell us of certain shadows:
- There is a valley we must all walk through where death casts a long shadow. We do not fear for this shadow cannot harm us deeply, it can only signal that life itself is a shadow on the earth. Life is an earthly shadow cast by a heavenly light, a spiritual lighthouse, guiding us through dangerous waters and seeing us safely home.
- There is a blessed shadow—the Shadow of His Wings! Here we are safe from all harms, covered by grace, cooled by hope against the heat of the day, and blanketed in peace, the peace of Christ.
- There is also the shadow of Peter. The Bible says that sometimes in the streets of that ancient world, the shadow of Peter passed over the sick folks and they were healed. The influence of the Spirit-filled man of God had a healing impact on the world through which he walked.
And so it must be with us today.
Fearing no shadows in the valley of death, we live and move and have our being beneath the shadow of the wings of Almighty God. As we pass through streets and alleyways of this life, we cast a healing shadow on those in our path.
Sometimes shadows of circumstance may obscure our steps but, like the warmth of the sun, hidden by clouds but still emanating life to the earth below, the Spirit of God leads us through the shadows. We can be sure of our destination.
Shadows may seem like illusions but they are very real.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the Lord, who is my refuge — then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 23 NIV
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Acts 5:12-16 NIV
The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
Lord Jesus, I stand today in the shadow of great men and women—family, preachers, teachers, craftsmen and artists, writers—good and/or godly people You have put in my path. Their shadows have provided me a safe place to learn from them, a place where I can look within my own heart to see any shadows lurking there that need to flee from the light of Your will for me. I realize that I, too, cast a shadow on others. Let my shadow be a healing shadow, a respite from the heat of the day. This is only possible because I rest beneath the shadow of Your wings. As my time runs across the ground like the shadow of a speeding jet, help it matter to someone. In Your lovely Name, Amen.
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Words: Fanny Crosby; Music: Robert Lowry
1. All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know whate’er betide me, Jesus doeth all things well.
2. All the way my Savior leads me; Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial, Feeds me with the living bread:
Though my weary steps may falter, And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see.
3. All the way my Savior leads me; Oh the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised In my Father’s house above:
When my spirit, clothed immortal, Wings its flight to realm of day,
This my song through endless ages: Jesus led me all the way.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved