October 3, 2009

Two kinds of Shadows

Yesterday’s post made me feel heavy. Even though God promises peace when I pray with thanksgiving, I could not identify the weight or worry to pray about. A vague sense of foreboding clung like flypaper. Did I fear God would ask for one of my children? Or my husband? Many thoughts ran through my head, but none of them seemed to be the culprit.

Finally I remembered that the Holy Spirit is always specific, but Satan loves to be vague with his threats. I prayed, “Lord, if this is how you want me to feel, I accept it, but if not, You know what to do.”

This prayer comes from James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” It is not a magic formula. I must genuinely accept whatever God wants for me, even if that includes struggle or pain or negatives of any kind. At the same time, I know that the enemy will torment me with foggy accusations and blurry lies and I cannot resist him unless I first submit to God.

The nasty and unclear burdens went away. I’m glad, because the verse today could be received with great reassurance, or seen as another omen of bad things to come.

Yea, 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. (Psalm 23:4)
Some commentators say there was an actual valley with this name. Perhaps, but there is significance in calling death a shadow. A shadow is not the real thing, only an impression of something caused when light is shining on it. Death casts a shadow yet the shadow is not to be feared. Even death itself is not to be feared. Instead, Jesus said to fear God, the one who is in control of life and death. The psalmist says that he feared no evil.

As I read this, I felt a darkness pass over me, the darkness of a question, “Is this an indication that I’m heading into a valley? Is someone going to die?” Yet immediately, God impressed the rest of the verse on me. No fear. God is with me. His correction and guidance have been with me and will continue to comfort me.

Satan’s shadows have no such comfort. They have blurry edges without a clear definition that reveals what is casting them. They are nameless and haunting. But the shadow God talks about here has a name, and right with the name, He gives the assurance of His presence and the promise of His comfort.

No one knows what their day will hold. I go into this day without knowledge of how it will unfold. Yet I do know this: God is with me. He said so. Along with the shepherd who wrote this wonderful psalm, I totally believe that my Shepherd does what He says.


Judy said...

Thank you Elsie for your transparency!
There is a wonderful song by Brian Doerksen that was a blessing from the Lord this summer as I pondered thoughts like you've presented here.
It's called 'Your Faithfulness". Here's the URL at You Tube if you care to listen. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=rP562si-d1Q
- Judy

LC said...

Hi Judy,
Thanks for the link.