In the Shadow
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1)
I must confess, when I was young I did not like the dark. I could not sleep in a totally dark room. I had to have some kind of light. Darkness was scary. It probably didn’t help that I was an avid fan of classic horror movies. Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and the Mummy filled my imagination—and consequently inhabited all dark rooms and shadowy places. Nighttime was a frightful world of menace. To add to this, the fear that darkness created in my heart often seemed palpable. I could feel the terror.
As an adult I no longer fear the dark. Yet, there are periods of darkness and gloom in life that are in some ways just as frightening as my childhood terrors. You know what I mean. The loss of a loved one. Uncertainty about the future. Your job is in jeopardy. Your health is in the balance. And, worst of all, those times when God doesn’t seem close. Those dark periods of God’s “absence,” which usually seem to occur when you most need Him. When you are experiencing loss, uncertainty, jeopardy, or sickness—why is it at those very times He seems to be distant? Why is it then that He leaves you in the dark?
Every believer experiences this. We all go through times when the Christian life feels more like a game of hide-and-seek than a spiritual pilgrimage. It is one of the mysteries of the faith. Isaiah declared, “Truly, you are a God who hides himself” (Isaiah 45:15). But why would a loving and tenderhearted God, full of mercy and compassion, do this? Why does He seem to hide? Why does He leave us in the dark?
I have a clear, straightforward, and simple answer. I don’t know.
Yet some light can be shed on the matter if we consider the example of one of the great saints of the 20th century—Corrie ten Boom. Once she was struggling with a dark time in her life. In the midst of wondering why God seemed so far away, she came upon Psalm 91. There the Psalmist speaks of the sheltering care of God for His children. He describes this as being under His “wings” (verse 4)—a picture of nurture and refuge. Here in His protecting presence we are shielded and safe. We abide in a place of security, only found under His shadow. Suddenly Corrie understood something. You can only stand in someone’s shadow if you are very close to that person. So in our time of need it is God’s nearness to us that causes us to be in shadow. We experience darkness not because God is far away, but rather because He is so near. He is so close to us—nurturing, protecting, guarding, and caring for us—that we dwell in the very shadow of His presence.
Child of God, is there darkness in your life right now? Is your heart filled with anxiety? Fear? Even terror? Does what is happening all around you cause you to wonder if God is even present? Has He forgotten you? Does He care? Let me assure you, He does care. He is there for you. And if you do not feel His nearness, it is probably because He is so close to you right now that you are living in His shadow. Take heart. His shadow is a safe place, where you can rest and be at peace. So, don’t fear the “darkness.” It can be an abode of refuge.
By Pastor Victor Morris
Pastor Morris serves as the the Advancing Native Missions staff Chaplain and founded a ministry called TRUTH BUILDERS. Victor and His wife Sue, have been longtime friends of International Women’s Ministries. For more information about Victor and His many ministry activities you may go here