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FIRST-PERSON: Sunlight & shadows

FORT TOTTEN, N.D. (BP) — Where is the sun’s shadow?

I sat in the woods the other day studying the shadow of a cottonwood tree as the leaves tossed and turned. As the sun sank in the west, the shadow grew longer, covering me and the little rabbit playing in the grass.

Because the sun is a light source, it creates shadows but does not cast one.

It made me think of how the apostle John summarized Jesus’ message: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.”

But I began to wonder: What about all those comforting shadow promises in the Scriptures?

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

“Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

“In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”

“And I have put My words in your mouth and covered you in the shadow of My hand.”

“They shall return and dwell beneath My shadow; they shall flourish like the grain.”

Where is the Lord’s shadow? How can He cast one if He is the light source and contains no darkness at all?

James even writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

I can rejoice in the immutable purity of God and in His light, but in my sinfulness, I see the need for His shadow to protect me from evil and to cover me with His piercing goodness.

I wonder if Moses’ shiny face was anything like a sunburn. He veiled his face so that the people wouldn’t be alarmed — even second-hand glory was too much for the Israelites, and I’m sinful enough to know that it would be for me too.

Where is His shadow? As Malachi wrote, “Who can endure the day of His coming and who can stand when He appears?”

Jesus came to cast His shadow.

While Jesus contained all the light and glory of God, He took on human flesh to cast the shadow that we need, that we crave, that we cling to in turbulent times. God’s light shone fully on Christ, and He shielded us from all of God’s glory that we cannot bear in our sinfulness.

However, to be in His shadow, we must come very close to Him. Think of Him on the cross, with the sunlight falling on Him, with His Father’s glory and righteous wrath falling on Him. Let us crawl up to the very foot of the cross to abide in His shadow while at the same time abiding in His light.

    About the Author

  • Sarah Dixon Young

    Sarah Dixon Young is a writer in North Dakota, where her husband Paul is pastor of Dakota Baptist Church.

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