The sun finally broke through the overcast skies on a cool Pennsylvania morning. Most of the hardwoods had already lost their leaves except for a few stubborn oaks whom were still holding on. Visibility through the tangles of deadfall and brambles was surprisingly good from my perch 16′ high in my stand. I noticed my shadow on the ground almost immediately. Since I am not a deer, I wondered anew about their senses. Can they see my shadow? If my shadow moves will they detect that movement before they detect my movement perched above? I wasn’t able to put this thought to the test because I didn’t see any deer that morning. In fact, as of this writing, the “Curse of the Empty Freezer” continues.
The word ‘shadow’ is an interesting word. We would define it like this:
- a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface.
- used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom.
Scripture uses the 2nd definition quite frequently, but not always with the sadness and gloom aspect. It focuses more on the ‘proximity’ aspect of the definition. For instance, in Psalm 91:1-3 we read, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper; And from the deadly pestilence.” Living in the shadow of the Almighty means quite literally, we are close to Him and He is close to us. Close enough that He casts His shadow upon us. Life within His shadow is a life protected from the snares and the traps of the evil one. In Psalm 107:10-14 we read, “There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death, Prisoners in misery and chains, Because they had rebelled against the words of God; And spurned the counsel of the Most High. Therefore He humbled their heart with labor; They stumbled and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death; And broke their bands apart.” In this passage we understand that if we are not living in the shadow, or proximity, of the Almighty…then we are living in the shadow of death. Our rebellion against God’s word will lead to all sorts of transgressions and sin which will bind us and trap us in chains. Thankfully, Christ can set us free from all of that when we humble ourselves and cry out to Him.
There is, however, an interesting passage in Acts 5:12-16 which caused me to think about this word ‘shadow’. The passage says, “At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”
The description of Peter’s shadow certainly fits the ‘proximity’ definition, but it also fits the 1st definition; a shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface. When I think about that, and let the ping-pong balls in my brain start to bounce about, I see a connection between us and the Lord. 1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” If God is the Light, and we are one body in Him, then the shadow of that relationship is cast onto those in darkness. It would be fair to say that the shadow cast is a pale reflection of Christ Himself. Scripture sheds some light on this (no pun intended…OK maybe it is) in Romans 8:16-17, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
We are fellow heirs with Christ…! (let that sink in a minute)
God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to spread His holy, pure, righteous message of love through His Son and thus…through us. Although we are not infinitely wise, we are fellow heirs with Him, we are chosen to carry His message. In fact, scripture says in 1 Corinthians 13:12, ” For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” In other words, living in the shadow of the Almighty here on earth is to live in the Light of Jesus Christ. The proximity we have to the lost will reflect the love of Jesus through our shadow, which is actually the shadow of Him. Even though we now see in the mirror dimly, and only know in part; meaning we can’t see all of the parts and pieces to God’s plan…we can still reflect the love of Jesus because He is the Light, the source of all illumination.
God is always moving and working to bring about His plan of redemption and love. For those living in darkness, they are unaware of the movement from above. But…they will absolutely see the movement of Christ’s shadow down here. They will see it, because we are Christ’s shadow when we move, serve, and love in His name.