There I was staring right into the steely eyes of a hammerhead shark. Then another shark swam toward me. Over my shoulder, I could see a third heading my way.
I never flinched. I didn’t even attempt to run. In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
Why? Not because I still have chemo-brain and didn’t remember that sharks can be very dangerous. No, it was because I was completely protected from them.
The experience took place at the aquarium in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and I was standing on dry ground watching the menacing-looking sharks swim past me in a huge, wraparound glass saltwater tank. They couldn’t have touched me even if they had wanted to. So you see, it is possible to be surrounded by something life-threatening and yet feel very safe!
The shadow that cancer–or any difficult; trial–casts on survivors and loved ones can at times seem very menacing.
In grade-school science, you may have learned that a shadow is caused by the absence of light when an opaque (not see-through) object has absorbed the light. When the trials of life becomes a shadow in our lives, I believe they’re blocking the light from reaching us.
Another truth about shadows is that they fall opposite their light source. That’s why your shadow is in front of you if the sun is behind you and vice versa. The way we’re facing determines whether or not we can see the shadow easily.
I know this is a simple scientific fact, but it is a profound spiritual truth for those facing tough times. You have to keep facing the light in order not to see shadows so easily. You must keep turned in the right direction.
Do you remember in 1998 when the Galaxy IV communications satellite malfunctioned and rotated out of position, turning away from the earth? In an instant millions of pagers went silent, TV and radio stations couldn’t transmit, and even some gas pumps couldn’t accept credit cards. It all happened because just one satellite in the heavens turned the wrong way and couldn’t communicate with earth.
Perhaps when you first heard the diagnosis or found yourself in a really difficult spot, you got out of position spiritually. You couldn’t figure out how a loving God could allow this situation into your life or your loved one’s. Maybe you even felt at times as if He didn’t hear your prayers. I hope you will check to see which way you are facing. I believe the way to communicate with God is to be turned toward Him, pouring out our hearts to the One who hears, understands, and has the power to respond.
Once we’re facing Him, talking to Him, and listening to Him, we also can choose to live under a different shadow. Now I know it sounds strange that you could find light by being under a shadow, but it’s true.
The shadow I want you to move under—or stay under if you’re already there—is a much, much bigger shadow than any illness or trial’s shadow. It’s a safe, secure, protective shadow. There’s no other shadow that can eclipse this one. And underneath it, we’re not in the dark; we’re supernaturally in the light. You see, while the Bible describes God as light, it also refers to Him as a shadow, protecting us in His shade.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
The shadow of the Almighty.
I love that word picture. Can you see yourself with a dark cloud of pain–physical, emotional, mental or spiritual–over your head, as you move under the huge shadow of God Himself? Standing underneath His shadow, you can barely even see the little shadow-speck of the struggle you’re facing.
He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. Isaiah 49:2
Have you ever put your arms around a child during a storm and drawn him/her close to you, protecting that little one from the rain and the noise? Have you ever seen a mother hen spread her wings and gather her little chicks to safety as danger approached? Those are the pictures that the Bible gives us of God’s love and care for us.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7
May I pray for you? Almighty God, please help my friend to live not under the shadow of illness or any trial, but under the protective shadow of Your hand. And there let my friend feel your unfailing love and find rest. Amen.
NOTE: I don’t usually post songs from live performances, but this was the best version I could find of this song I wanted to use. If it gets too long for you, you can always stop it 🙂 Lyrics also are in SPANISH for all my Spanish-speaking friends to sing along! (We used to sing this at a Messianic Jewish synagogue we attended, so it brought back really nice memories for me.)
If the video doesn’t automatically load here, please copy and paste this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stjOIflP_1g to enjoy!