Everything casts a shadow. We often find ourselves positioned with those things that cast a shadow, like the shadow cast by a passing cloud, a tree, or by someone standing close at hand. There is nothing to such shadows because these are merely the affect of objects or persons situated in such ways to block light. Such shadows may shield us from light or heat for a time, but otherwise have no permanent affect. Besides, we can move out from these shadows at will.
Everything casts a shadow. We often find ourselves positioned with those things that cast a shadow, like the shadow cast by utter disappointment, or by someone whom we loved dearly that died. These shadows cover the soul with such emotional weight that sometimes it feels as though it is impossible to stand. They lean on the heart and mind sometimes with such burden we fall under the emotional load. To complicate matters, we cannot move out from underneath the affect of these shadows at will. Such shadows possess a propensity to follow us everywhere we go.
The soul is such a sensitive essence of our inner being. It innately wants to thrive, to rise and stretch outward with vivacity, and to experience the joyousness of life. Yet, shadows cast by adverse circumstances often effectively stand on the soul. Buried by the weight inside our living bodies, we become like some sort of dead men walking.
Does God want us to live this way? Does He care about the agonies of our sensitive souls, which are part of His creative design?
How can one stand to live out the expectations of life only to be hindered when shadows stand on the soul?
Thankfully, there is a way. There is a plan. The soul does not have to be continually dominated by the stances of those adverse, heavy shadows that come to all us at times.
What we need are bigger shadows. Like the shadow from a large cloud that passes overhead to cancel a person’s shadow on the ground, bigger shadows consume the scope and affect of smaller shadows. The larger shadow from above detaches the smaller shadow from staying in constant contact with our every emotional and spiritual movement.
Indeed—-there are bigger shadows than the ones that often stand on our soul.
First, there is “the shadow of the Almighty.” Consider the enormity of the shadow cast by God in this life. The Psalmist expressed amazement at the beneficent quality of God’s shadow on him. For him, the shadow of God consumed the “terror of night, the pestilence of darkness, and the destruction that wastes at noonday.” Nothing else attempting to cast a shadow on his soul would weigh him utterly down because God’s shadow mitigated the affect.
I do not know what shadow stands on your soul. But, I know what has tried to stand on mine. Yet, it is God’s shadow, I have found, that has brought relief from the heaviness of it all. After all, God’s shadow does not stand on the soul.
Second, there is “the shadow of His hand.” Prophet Isaiah makes a clear distinction here. It is not a covering shadow from God’s hand held overhead, but the shadow created by one “BEING HELD IN GOD’S HAND.” “I have covered you in the shadow of mine hand.” What a comforting consideration.
Being in the shadow of God’s hand lends distinct advantage. There is no shadow being on our soul heavy enough that God cannot lift, and, when He lifts the weight of our shadow, it lifts the soulful strain from off our hearts and minds.
Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Under His shadow we shall live.”
My one particular shadow marks fifteen years now. But, I have lived daily under God’s shadow—-and have stood well.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.