A few days ago, Barnabas and I were out for our daily walk. It was a lovely, sunny day, and overall, we were having a wonderful time. Suddenly, as we emerged from the tree-lined path, out of nowhere, a dark shape formed in the bushes beside us. Barnabas immediately jumped and scurried behind me for protection, but only for a moment because that's how long it took for him to realize that he had literally been scared of his own shadow.
I can't blame him for being startled. Shadows are scary things, or at least they can be when we allow them. If you think about it, we do our fair share of running from shadows too. Maybe not the physical kind (if you can call a shadow physical), but certainly the mental, emotional and even spiritual kinds.
The truth is that many times we don't run from our problems; we run from the shadows of our problems, from the darkness that looms over us, threatening to engulf us with its black tentacles. What was once a problem suddenly becomes a catastrophe because that's the nature of shadows--they're much bigger than their source. We turn our troubles into shadows when we allow ourselves to dwell on them until they become giants in our minds, casting gloom and darkness over every area of our lives.
So, how do we deal with these shadows? Well, we could do what Barnabas did, and hide, but we can't hide forever. No, the best way to destroy a shadow is to remember what created it in the first place. Shadows are formed when we turn away from the light; therefore, they can be extinguished by turning back to the light. Stop focusing on the situation, and focus on the Son. Forget the problem and turn your thoughts to the Problem Solver. As the old hymn says, "There is no shadow of turning with Thee."
Please understand I am not belittling anyone's troubles. Trials are difficult, frustrating, and sometimes even debilitating. But we tend to give them more power over us than they should have by allowing them to have a stronghold in our minds. We must beware the shadows. We must keep our face to the light. Only then will we know the true joy and satisfaction of overcoming our trials by the grace and strength of God.