Shadows sometimes stand on the soul


By Pastor Ron Branch - Contributing columnist



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The following is a repeat of a thought I wrote about several years back:

Everything tangible casts a shadow. We often find ourselves positioned in proximity with those things that cast a shadow. It might be the shadow cast by a passing cloud overhead, or a tree, or by someone standing close at hand. There is nothing to such shadows because they are merely the effect of objects or persons situated in such ways to block light. Such shadows may shield us from intense light or uncomfortable heat for a time, but temporal shadows usually have no permanent effect. Besides, we can typically move out from tangible shadows at will.

Everything intangible casts a shadow, too. We often find ourselves cast under intangibles that cast shadows, like the shadows cast by utter disappointment, or by illness, 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. These lean on the heart and mind with such burden that we bend low from the emotional load. To complicate matters, we are influenced to believe that we cannot move out from underneath the effect of these and other 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/women walking.

Does God want us to live this way?

Does He not care about the agonies of our sensitive souls when our souls are a part of His creative design?

How can we stand and live out the expectations of life only to be hindered by shadows that stand on the soul?

Thankfully, there is a solution. There is a way. There is a plan. Our souls do not have to be continually dominated by those adverse, heavy shadows that come to us all at times.

The solution, the way, and the plan have to do with having bigger shadows. It is like the shadow from a large cloud that passes over head that cancels a person’s shadow on the ground. Bigger shadows consume the scope and effect of smaller shadows. The larger shadow from above detaches the smaller shadow from staying in constant contact with our emotional and spiritual movement.

By contrast, there are bigger shadows than the one that sometimes stand on the 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 under which he stood. For the Psalmist, the shadow of God over-shadowed “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 could weigh him utterly down because God’s bigger shadow mitigated the affect.

I do not know what shadow stands on your soul, but I know what tried to stand on mine.

Yet, it is the comforting shadow of God — I have found — that continually brings relief from the heaviness of it. After all, God’s shadow of blessing does not stand on the soul.

Second, there is “the shadow of His hand.” Prophet Isaiah makes a clear distinction about it. It is not a shadow God creates simply by holding His hand over us. Rather, it is the shadow created over us when we are held in God’s hand. God said, “I have covered you in the shadow of my hand.”

This suggests distinct advantage. For there is no shadow bearing on our soul so heavy that God cannot lift. And, when He lifts the weight of our soul-standing shadow, He lifts the soulful strain from off our hearts and minds.

Prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Under His shadow we shall live.”

My shadow marks two decades now. I live under God’s shadow daily — so that I can stand.

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By Pastor Ron Branch

Contributing columnist

Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.

Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.