Usually, we don’t think of living in someone’s shadow as a good thing. We tend to connect living in the shadow of someone else as feeling unsuccessful in comparison with their successfulness. If I live in the shadow of my dad, it’s because he’s viewed as the accomplished one and I feel like I am perpetually coming up short of who he was or what he did. To be in his shadow usually means that everyone knows his name, and they know me just as his son. No, shadow dwelling isn’t something we aspire to in our culture.
But as I read Psalm 91, it occurs to me it’s all about whose shadow we’re talking about. And if it’s the Almighty’s, then why would we desire anything other than shadow living?
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
(Psalm 91:1-2 ESV)
There’s no competing with the glory of God. No usurping His might and power. No place for the creation to boast before the Creator. Such thinking is folly. So, in that sense, everyone is in God’s shadow, whether they acknowledge it or not.
But for those of us who seek His shelter, who desire to pitch our tent in His presence, and determine to take a seat and abide at His feet, we know something of the full blessing of shadow living.
We know the cool of the day, regardless of how much things heat up. We find refuge, even in the most severe of tempests. We remain secure, despite the attacks of the enemy. There is protection in shadow living. Amen?
For the One who casts the shadow has promised to deliver those who find refuge in Him. To deliver, first and foremost, from the wages owed because of sin. To rescue from a debt no one has any hope of repaying. To provide payment in full through the finished work of Christ on the cross so that all who seek the shadow of the cross might know deliverance from sin and death.
But beyond that, because we have made the Lord our dwelling place and the Most High our refuge, though the going may get tough, we’re still able to keep on going. Not in our strength, but in His power, the power of shadow living. Not because of how good we are at enduring, but because of how great His grace is towards meeting our need. Not by our might or power, but by His indwelling Spirit. Delivered once from sin and death, carried on His wings daily as we deal with trial and temptation.
And there’s another thing about shadow living. It’s transitory. Our lives are but a shadow. The toil, trial, and testing are but for a relatively short period of time when we consider that He has wired us for life everlasting and redeemed us for eternity. The shade will give way to light. The clouds will pass. Times of darkness we know are fleeting. And, in knowing that, we whose lives are but a mist find all-sufficient strength for the day as we rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Shadow living. No place I’d rather be. Happy should those around me know of His greatness more than my own. Blessed if I’m known only as His son.
By His grace. For His glory.