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Listen while you read: "No Not One"1 (Lyrics)
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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Shadows indeed! That is so timely and helpful.
Thank you Martin!
Thank you Martin. Your language is so beautiful, you are a poet. Your message of faith is assuring and must be a comfort to all who read this. May God continue to bless you.
Very encouraging – thanks Martin! It’s always comforting to be reminded of the twenty-third Psalm.
Thank you Martin for your timely devotion. I found out very recently that I have M.S….the shadows of things to come, have been filling me with fear. Your devotional reminded me of the fact that I am not alone…for the Shepard walks beside me. Thank you.
Thank you for this encouraging message. The family of our church is experiencing a very sad day as one of our youth undergoes a very serious surgery. It is definitely a day of shadows through a valley of pain. Your message helps us to focus on our God who shares all of our suffering, and ministers to our fears.
Wow! What a beautiful description of what happened to me this morning.
All those shadows of the past that began to undermine my joy for today. I love your language – shadow walking; and your scripture reference to walking by faith, not by sight or tangible proof. What a gift you have given me today. Praise The Lord, and thank you Martin. God bless.
I hr fire, our word of victory in Him is :through: Praise the Name of the Lord for His constant assurance of His presence. share your feelings about shadows Martin as I often walk in such areas when I take my dog out. It is a comforting scripture you quoted in the time of the shadows of life we must pass through. But like God taking us through the water and the fire, in Him THE word OF VICTORY is THROUGH.
In your devotional that you shared today you said “Knowing that shadows distort is helpful.” How true, also, how very much the message I needed to hear today. I had spent time in prayer and meditative journaling this morning, and that line that you wrote was the natural conclusion to the reflections I had with God today.
Thanks for your devotional Martin,
I’ve been doing quite a bit of shadow walking these past months.
I am walking by faith and a walking stick which I shall carry even when I don’t need it.
With a bad diagnosis and a long waiting list the surgery was 15 months. A prima fascia example of walking by faith.
As a retired teacher of many years of teaching and grading papers for as many as 330 students a week I must say I liked your prose which sped your message on its way.
I shall be looking forward to more of you submissions.
Most fitting for this week. Thanks. Keep on keeping on with your inspirational writing.
for your picturesque and reassuring devotional centering in 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).
May grace and peace be with you.
Lovely Martin! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Martin. Your devotional was inspiring, bringing hope and encouragement to me. It is beautifully written and very descriptive. I walked with you along the path through the trees and felt God’s presence, bringing me peace. Thank you and may God bless you.