November 8, 2012 by JesstheMess
“Mum… I found it. A bird, I found a bird”, came the shout from the bushes. Sure that the bird would be flying off, startled by the noise, I meander in the direction of the excited jabber. It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and we have ventured to the Gardens with our camera’s in tow. It was one of those afternoons where the kids had been on top of each other, scrapping over the lego instead of going out to enjoy the novelty of a warm spring day. Intervention was needed and so here we were shifting our focus off ourselves, hunting for the little details, the invisible, in the gardens. We were looking to God to draw us to worship Him, to delight in the intricacies of His creation. And here they had found it, the highlight of our trip.
A beautiful bird awaited, willing to sit. But the lingering shadows irritated the mini-photographers as they tried to get a shot of this great find. My own desire for a clear crisp image was frustrated. The sun lowering in the sky producing shadows from every visible angle.
Life has its shadows. The flitting shadows of poor health or financial struggle, the deathly shadows of terminal illness or loss of loved ones, the deep shadowy darkness of hard times where dangers seem to linger all around. No amount of wishful thinking removes these shadows.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
(Psalm 23:4 ESV)
Yet for those who call God their Shepherd, who trust that Jesus, the good Shepherd, came and gave his life for His sheep, that he took death in their place, giving life to His sheep, knowing that He arose, conquering death, that they might live with Him forever more, these sheep need not fear. They need not fear the shadow, for He has conquered the shadow of death.
What’s more, there is another shadow, a shadow of rest, a place of peace. The irony is, this shadow is God’s. God the Father, through His Son Jesus becomes a shadow we can abide in.
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)
In Him we can rest. In His shadow, no other shadow can harm us. They may be there, but they cannot destroy the relationship and rest we have as His sheep. In fact resting in His shadow brings a complete new perspective to the shadows in life.
This is what I love about the result of our expedition, this photo. The flitting shadows are unable to hinder the beauty of the bird. The bird so still, steadfast, makes a back drop that helps us see the shadows from a new perspective.
Thank you Lord for an afternoon reminder to shelter in Your shadow and not let the shadows of conflict and complaint loom big.
© J.Smith Photography and ‘illuminating the invisible’ (2012)