“You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” “The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.” “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Psalm 63:7; 121:5-6; Ephesians 5:8
I noticed on my walk this morning the beauty of filtered light, the way plants and blooms dance to life with ray and shadow under just the right conditions. Many things I grow require filtered light, not too strong, but just enough. Intense direct sun can scorch and dry out, depleting necessary moisture and energy, frying new growth, shriveling leaves and flowers; the absence of sun can retard leafing and blooms, like the 12-foot smilax vine we pulled (and pulled) out of a porch light receptacle, colorless, leafless, spindly and albino-like. Plants need light to flourish, but not too much.
In the Scriptures we are commanded to walk in God’s light, and we are also promised refuge, rest, and protection in His shade. There is a balance between soaking in all we can of His illumination, and taking time out of its brilliance for it to sink in, do its work, and have its way in every part of us. I think of our spiritual feeding, where we can almost glut ourselves with services, studies, schedules of reading, fellowship, and acts of ministry, and become so full we have no margin and fail to absorb the good seed God sows into us from his word, and from quiet and still time. But we can just as easily languish and go hungry when we neglect him altogether, starving our souls from the rich fare of God’s word and spiritual intimacy with others.
Am I finding a balance? Are there steps I need to take to do so? Do I take in enough each day for His light to make a difference along my path, in my vision, thought, efforts, contributions? How well do I apply what I read and learn, so habits are altered, hard edges are softened, and evidence is palpable? Where am I tempted to retreat unhealthfully to the shade, to hide from conviction, or fellowship that refines? Will I let my Lord so order my days that I can take in His filtered light, relishing its warmth as well as the cool of its shade, welcoming the conditions He designs for my greatest sanctification and growth? (Isaiah 25:4-6; 32:2; Psalm 119:105; 1 John 1:5,7)
Lord Almighty, may I ever walk in the radiance of Your face and truth, taking in all You intend to shine in me by Your measure. Grant me also the wisdom and will to abide in Your shadow, so that in Your perfect light I can blossom for You with joyous bounty. (Psalm 56:13; 57:1; 89:15; 91:1; Isaiah 2:5)