I'd like to start off by talking about a song titled “Shadow Feet” by Brooke Fraser. Beautiful song...not new, but it's message is timeless.
The lyrics start out by saying “walking, stumbling on these shadow feet toward home, a land that I've never seen.” ...When we are in the midst of a trial, the goal is not perfection, it is obedience. I am learning that the hard way. God's Word promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that when we are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Here's the catch; it's His way out. I don't know about you, but my ways are not His ways, especially when it is involving pain or suffering. Imagine a war where the rank and file decide not to listen or even seek the commands and leadership of their superior officers. Do you see the chaos and defeat that would take place if that happened? It sounds ridiculous to even consider, especially since a soldier in that position would be fully aware that their life and very likely the lives of their comrades would be in jeopardy.
That same chaos can happen in our own lives if we do not consult our Chief Shepherd, as described in 1 Peter 5:4, when facing battles of our own. Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105. On our “shadow feet” He will help us navigate through the minefield we may find ourselves in.
Right now we “see through a glass darkly” as 1 Corinthians 13:12 states. It goes on to say one of my favorite three letter words when it comes to God's Word...BUT! It states further “...BUT; then face to face; now I know in part; BUT then shall I know even as also I am known.” Selah!
Truth is, we may never have all the answers to why something takes place in our lives. It helps me to know that God does. It is my thinking that if God does know and He allows it, then it is for my good and His glory. It doesn't always make it okay, but it helps me accept whatever it is and that it also has a purpose. I have come to realize too, that I am loved by God. I may not understand it, chances are I never will but I have come to accept it and embrace it. Or should I say IT embraces me. It isn't about what I believe about myself as much as what I believe about God that helps me make sense of this thing called life. I imagine I would stay in a miry pit otherwise.
It was when Peter took His eyes off of Christ and looked at his circumstances that He started to drown in the sea. BUT, Jesus held out His hand as Peter cried out for His help and Jesus responded by reaching down and saving him from the raging sea. In 1994 I experienced my own “Peter” moment.
I was in a counseling session and I was fighting depression. Our marriage struggles from the prior two years to that point had caught up to me, but that experience was just the catalyst for me to FINALLY deal with what had been a lifetime of unhealthy, even self destructive patterns of dealing with life's struggles.
It wasn't my fault, it wasn't my husband's fault...blame was not the issue. God was giving me the opportunity to FINALLY develop healthy coping skills so that when I experienced challenges in my life, whatever that might look like, that I would turn to HIM and respond in obedience to HIM to show me HIS way out. I had a choice, you have a choice. God is so gracious that He allows that, nothing done by force, just unconditional love. Wow.
During that “Peter” session, the counselor asked me what I usually did when I experienced pain and I said that I usually pictured myself being held by God. So, the counselor asked me to do that and I couldn't. All I could see when I closed my eyes was a picture of a robed Jesus standing with His back turned to me.
My counselor asked me to pray about it, so I began to pray (my hands were literally digging into the winged back chair) and I was crying and filled with fear and I began to seek repentance and to tell God of my desire to come to Him, but all I could see in my mind was that picture of Jesus with His back turned to me. I continued to cry and I remember telling God that I wanted to come to Him, but that I just couldn't...and that was when it happened! In my mind I saw of picture of a robed arm and the hand was extended down to me. ME. WOW.
Well, I stopped at that point. Naturally, my counselor was confused and he told me to go on. I then told him that he didn't understand...I had just seen the hand of God reach down to me. I was not able to reach God, so He reached down to me. BLOWN. AWAY. The God of the Universe reached out to me (who am I?) ...amazing! When I shared this with my counselor, he too quite naturally, was blown away as well and ended our session by praying a prayer of thanksgiving & praise to our loving God!
My healing began in earnest at that point and I have never been the same since, nor treated for depression since. We have a God bigger than ANYTHING we may face in life. I have to remind myself sometimes, but all I to do is think back on my own “Peter” moment and am ashamed for even thinking otherwise!
1 John 1:5 says “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” God is our light in this present darkness, the lamp that provides the shadow for our feet...thus our shadow feet. Mine and yours.
In closing there was an old movie I watched years ago titled The Mortal Storm starring Jimmy Stewart, without a doubt my favorite actor of ALL time! The movie is set in Germany and involved resistance to the Nazi regime. The message encapsulated the belief that all men are created equal and that there are times when we must choose what is right over what is safe (in our eyes).
The closing lines of the movie were as follows: And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year. “Give me a light that I may tread safely unto the unknown.” and he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you a better light and safer than a known way.”
That is my prayer for us all, that we place our hand into the hand of God, as we face the darkness of this world, for that shall be a better light and safer than a known way. Amen.
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