In ancient times, sun dials were used to tell the time of day. The light from the sun would pour out of the sky, constant as always, and mark a shadow on the figure to reveal what time of day it was for people to perform various activities: planting, harvesting, rising for the day, resting, eating, and so on. Today I received news from an old friend who was my best through middle and high school. She had been carrying triplets, and had been in the hospital for preterm labor. Today she gave birth to the three babies, and they didn't make it because of their tiny bodies inability to fare through the demands of life outside of the womb. It's hard to process a loss like that for me for two reasons. One being that I haven't ever experienced something of the sort and have no words to understand or express the sorrow for her and her family at this time. But secondly because sometimes I can't understand God's choices- because let's face it- sometimes they don't seem good. The one irrevocable truth however remains that God is good! As I thought of how to give her hope in what seems to be a hopeless situation, I couldn't resolve to share my own words because simply- they wouldn't do. Hope is the anchor for our souls, and true Hope is only found in the One who is. I wrote to her the verse from psalm 23 that says "even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid". That verse has been the anthem of our house for the last week. Not because of death, but because my preschoolers recently began to understand juvenile fears of things like the dark. It's amazing how they receive fear because of something they see. (Insert small lesson that isn't the main topic here) The kids aren't allowed to watch most shows, but one was talking about a small child being afraid of the dark and of shadows. The show was showing the science and logic behind shadows and that we don't need to be afraid. The problem is, you can't fight fear with logic. Sometimes logic and reasoning help finite minds reason- but we do NOT reason with spirits of darkness. By the example of Jesus Christ, we are to confront the spirit with the Word that is God himself. Needless to say the girls have been learning the verse psalm 23:4 this week. To hear teaghan at two and a half shout with power and authority those words puts such a smile on my face! "YEA dough I walk frew da valley of da shadows I will NOT be afraid!" That is truth. And I found the simple truth I was teaching the kids evoke the life support from me to a friend this week. As I pondered the words and pictured them, meditating on the words they gripped me with such liberty I had to share: Yes, even though we walk through the valley of SHADOWS. Notice it isn't spirits or things or an actual object- rather a "shadow". It's not really there. It has no real power. It has no control. It simply is in your vision. It's also the byproduct of the light!! See just like the sundial, or a shadow on the kids' bedroom wall at bedtime- the shadow is coming because there is a form of light nearby! What hope friends that when we walk through valleys of shadows that the Light that is our Savior, Redeemer, and Protector is nearby!!! So back to the analogy of the sun dial: if we walk through seasons of shadows, being cast by the Light that is near, shouldn't they direct us to action? Just like the sun dial cast a shadow and provoked action by people in the days of old to plant, harvest, rise- shouldn't we be provoked to action when shadows arise in our own lives! Jesus help me to dial into You when shadows present themselves as something more than what they are! Help me to rise to meet you in the morning when the "shadow" of business, and exhaustion, and overwhelmed-ness seem to be leaking in my home! Help me to cling to you because you are near to me in those times!!!! God is so very good. Even when we cannot see or understand why. I can't explain the "time" cast by the shadow of death for my friend, but I can see from the history and nature of God that He is doing something to reveal Himself! So the next time you see a shadow, or check the time, remember to draw near to the One who made the sun and moon and galaxies above. He is so worthy of our praise.
Bri is the mom to four little people, the wife to a gentle giant, and a lover of Jesus. She's figuring out the best ways to parent by trial and error, and sharing her struggles, successes, and stories with you!