In the Shadow

Published in the June 2019 Friendly Caller:  Here is a repeat of an article I wrote almost 4 years ago for the friendly caller.  I think the images are pertinent in all times:

God  watches over you – God is your shade at your right hand.     

– Psalm 121:5

There are times in our lives when God seems vividly “with” us.  We feel a spiritual presence, connection and guidance, and there is no mistake that God exists and cares for us.  And then there are the other times when we wonder IF God is there at all.

God is very much like the shade created by a sunlit day.  At times during the day we feel very connected to God’s presence. It is very vivid and there is no mistaking it, like the long shadow cast in the early morning or late afternoon sun.  At those times we are very much aware and can recognize the work of God in our lives, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

It is in the middle of our everyday lives, with life’s living and trials, that we can start feeling abandoned – for God’s “shade” in our lives is so short as to hardly be noticeable, like at noon-time.  At these times, God’s work in our lives does not seem quite so certain, so evident, so obvious, and we may even have to search for it!  We may even come to clearly doubt that God even exists, just like on the days that our shadow does not seem to be present at all on the darkest of days.

And yet, at ALL times God IS with us.  God is inexorably “attached” to us like the shadow that follows us everywhere, even when we cannot recognize or detect its presence on the dark days.  Whenever there is light, when we move, our shadow moves.  When we stop, our “shade at our right hand” stops.  We can depend on the fact that God is there, as surely as shadow is there whenever light of any sort is present.  When the sun has gone down, even then, we are enveloped in the shadow created by the earth itself shading the sun from us.

One of the affirmations at the back of our United Methodist Hymnal (#883) ends with the phrase:

“In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone, thanks be to God!”

This is the hope with which we live on a day to day basis.  The hope that God does not abandon us.  That God did not just set the planets to spinning, but is involved with us all on a day to day basis.  That our actions matter, and not only does God influence our lives, but our lives influence God.  Like the shadow that is moving with us, and is inextricably connected to our own movements, we are moving for and with God.  The hope with which we live is that God walks with us, and that it really does matter to God what constitutes our daily living.  We are not alone!  Thanks be to God!

“Under the shadow of thy wing, oh may we dwell secure Sufficient is thine arm alone, and thy defense is sure.” (Isaac Watts, 1719)

In the love of God – Pastor Karla