Friday, February 10, 2012

A Contrast of Shadows

      Shadow A: What could be as welcome on a blazing summer day than a cool spot of shade? Work is more pleasant when the heat is moderated by a shadow. As Job says, “A servant earnestly desireth the shadow.” Job 2:7 The sunlit colors of summer seem brighter when contrasted with the outline of a cloud. Under a large deciduous shade tree, the air feels more invigorating and refreshing. Shadows from its’ leaves make the sunlight dance across the lawn. Even a dog will find itself a shady cove from which to watch the world.

      Shadow B: Dreary, long, shadows make their way closer to the already shaded forrest. The world has the appearance of gray, lacking in...sunbeams. It is bereft of the definition that the bright sunlight makes with, yes, the shadows. As evening draws nearer, there isn’t even a reflection from the sun. For the moon and starry host are hidden above a clouded sky. The earth really lacks definition now. These shadows stand in stark contrast to the shadows on a summer day. Even “...the light is darkness.” Job 10:22

      With God, who is “our light and salvation,” shadows have a very different effect than when we dwell in darkness. Shadows in the sunlight create definition that is beautiful to behold. Shadows in the darkness? Is it any wonder that the Psalmist says, “..the valley of the shadow of death”? But with God, life is different. “If I say, Surely the darkness” of some deep trial “shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me” for God is with me. “Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” – Ps 139:11-12

      God’s promise is, “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” – Isaiah 42:16. He will make darkness light. Even the night is something bright because of Christ’s presence. The shadow of God is a place of comfort to His children, a place of safety. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” – Psalm 91:1 God’s shadows are bright, brighter than the brightest light without the sun.

      Shadows will surely come. They are a part of life on this earth. In the natural world, the contrast that shadows give often can create something beautiful that would not be if it weren’t for the shadows. In the spiritual world, shadows can have a beautifying effect on our characters. Shadows aren’t always beautiful however, even on a sunny, summer day. They have no doubt ruined many a photographers’ efforts. How do we respond to the shadows in our lives? Do they beautify us because we are in the presence of Jesus? Or do they embitter us, ruining the portrait of Christ’s character? Do we share the sunbeams of the Savior’s presence with those with whom we associate? Or do we cast shadows on the pathway of others? Let us be sunbeams in the shadows, for the contrast is beautiful. 

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