I sauntered along beneath a canopy of trees, rays of sunlight periodically penetrating the thick overgrowth and slithering to the ground, giving a checkered effect beneath my feet — a mixture of sun and shadows. As the day grew weary, the shadows lengthened, and with it, my fear of what might lurk in the grey areas … a person seeking to harm me … an animal planning to attack me.
Walking in the shadows is a common occurrence when hiking in the mountains of the southeastern United States. Unlike their western sisters, most of the eastern mountains are completely blanketed to their peaks with vegetation, providing ample opportunity for shadows to linger and lengthen during sunny days.
For the psalmist shepherd, leading his sheep meant treks through valleys and over mountains plush with shadows — areas of darkness where thieves and murderers often held up and predatory animals crouched. Yet his confidence lay in the Lord.
Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (KJV)
Shadow walking is unavoidable. At a height of six-foot-one-inch, I can cast a shadow more than twice my length when the sun's rays are positioned correctly against my body. Knowing that shadows distort is helpful. Remembering that they can arouse fearful emotions and house dangerous situations is also beneficial. Only by faith-walking can we dispel the negatives of walking in the shadows of brokenness, disappointment, despair, financial ruin, dysfunctional relationships, unfaithfulness, death, and a host of other challenges that accompany living in this world. Successful Christian living is walked by faith, not by sight or tangible proof … shadows or no shadows.
What silhouettes are looming over you? God can give you faith to stride through them without fear.
Prayer: Grant us, O God, the courage needed to face every day with its challenges, as we trust You to lead us through the shadow-laden valleys. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "No Not One" (Lyrics)