Monday, September 13, 2010
When Shadows Matter
As a child, I would walk quickly trying to trick my shadow. I laughed when my shadow grew tall and skinny. I played tricks on my shadow by sitting under the palm trees to hide from my constant partner. My shadow was my playmate and personal friend.
My Uncle Albert taught me about shadows. He was bald and entertaining to a five year old. He would show me shadows on the wall of a rabbit, fox, and alligator. I waited each afternoon to visit him and comb his hair. He just smiled broadly and sat quietly as I combed through his invisible hair. Then, he would tell me to look at the wall. Suddenly, shadows really mattered.
In my art classes, I have learned the importance of a shadow. It must be in a strategic place to make the painting have depth and believability. Creating shadows and light paths supports the artist’s vision. Shadows create form and value. Without shading and shadows a painting would seem flat and lifeless.
I have learned to respect shadows through the years. But, most importantly God has taught me the importance of shadows through His word.
God promises to use His shadow for my safe keeping. “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” Psa. 17:8 Many a time I have visualized a giant wing over me, around me, and under me. I hid in its protection and prayed for mercy. I am intrigued by shadows and realize that even though I cannot touch them, they are real. I need only remind myself that I can’t touch God, but I know He is real. The shadow teaching reminds me of my need for faith.
We are told that our days are like a shadow. We are here today but will wither away like a fleeting shadow. I am reminded in this verse how fragile life is. I must make each moment special and beautiful, so it will be worth remembering. My shadow will flee, but my mercy and love will be remembered. “He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.” Job 14:2
I remember vividly the day I saw the shadow of death in Israel. The mountain cast dark shadows and created black ravines. I visually could see what David described as the shadow of death. It was vast, dark, and lonely. Each time I pray this verse, I reflect on the importance of that shadow. 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.” Psa. 23:4
I think about shadows often. His shadow gives me protection and rest. I desire to be in His shadow always. I yearn to be the apple of His eye. I realize that shadows are a blessing and important in our lives.