Friday, September 21, 2012

The Truth About Shadows

 On life’s journey, we don’t always have the best angle to see things as they really are. Hard times, confusing times, and painful times blur our vision to the point that all we see is shadows.

Shadows hold a reputation of being most at home in scary worlds. For example, Hitchcock brilliantly uses shadows to amp up intensity, mystery and anxiety. We tend to fear shadows because of their uncertainty and lack of clarity. As children, the shadow of tree branches outside our bedroom window dancing on the walls somehow conjured up visions of monsters in the closet. Peter Pan was even afraid of his own shadow.
Looking at the pictures of these shadows illustrates, though, why shadow and fear should not coincide.
The shadow that we see rarely resembles the object it represents. Depending on how we look at it, the shadow changes, sometimes for a clearer picture but often for a more obtuse image. 
Our perspective changes as we adjust to the angle of the light source casting the shadow. This brings up the revelation that light is required in order to have a shadow in the first place.
Also, the shadow has no substance. It isn’t real, in the sense that you can touch or hold it. A shadow is a phenomenon of light, really, and therefore nothing to fear.
The Bible talks about shadows. One well-known spot is in Psalm 23 – “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” Why? Because God is with us. As the Light, God’s presence turns death’s reality into a mere shadow.
God also refers to shadows in a positive context. Numerous places, He tells us to hide or take shelter in the shadow of His wings and His hand.  So shadows are actually a good thing – like on a hot day when shade offers a cool reprieve. A refuge. A covering.
My point here, as it came to mind while taking the walk and observing the shadows in these pictures, is that if there are shadows in your life that are tempting you to fear (or doubt), consider:
#1 – God never leaves you or forsakes you. The Light is there. Otherwise, the shadows couldn’t be there.
#2 – The shadows are not real in the sense that they can harm you.
#3 – The shadows may or may not accurately represent reality. Adjusting your angle to the Light, gaining God’s perspective, clears up the image.
#4 – We’re not going to know everything from our standpoint here on earth. As we grow, we’ll be able to identify things like the stop sign merely by its shape, but not always see every detail like the words identifying #7 as the ‘children at play’ sign. With this in mind, remember Who does see it all and defer to His expertise – His Word which is Truth. That’s called faith.
#5 – And think on one more thing. Shadows have been used to tell time throughout history. How does that work? Not because of the integrity of the sundial. If it’s cloudy outside, it’s just another slab of stone. It is the constancy of the sun that casts the shadow by which we tell time.  You can depend on that constancy without questioning or fearing the shadows.
Hope you’ve had a great week, Dry Ground friends. Happy Weekending!
(photos by