Shadows and Realities

Moses said to the Lord, ‘See, you say to me, “Bring up this people,” but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, “I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.” Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you…’ And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ And he said to him, ‘If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here... Please show me your glory.’ And he said, ‘I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name “The Lord.” And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live. Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.’” Exodus 33:12-15,18-23

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Moses was a man of great faith, but he had his moments of weakness and doubt. His was a momentous task, and he wanted to be assured that the God who had called him would remain his constant companion. The journey with Israel was not worth taking if God would not go with them. Moses longed to know God’s ways, to see His glory, to be assured of His presence. And God responded with a message that holds today: ‘I am with you, and you will see glimpses of Me, but this life is one of walking by faith in the promise that one day, all shadows will become realities.’


Trials come and we cannot see their end. Circumstances twist so greatly we cannot untangle their meaning. Projections and diagnoses change, and we cannot find a grip on anything certain. Our present realities are so dark and distorted we chafe at being unable to understand and make plans and know.

But enter almighty God into our shadows. His is the light that gives shape and hope, that beckons us on. He is the One who proclaims His names Shepherd, Master, and King to us, the One who is plenteous in mercy and grace. He is the One who offers rest in the cleft of the Rock that is Him.

Will we choose to adjust our eyes to the shadow in which we live, and rejoice in His companionship there? Will we rest content in His favor, and watch for His ways and glory in the present, confident they are a taste of realities to come?

Lord, give me eyes of faith, that though I cannot yet see You, I believe, and live here in the shadowlands certain of Your presence. (John 20:8-9,29)

2 thoughts on “Shadows and Realities”

  1. How insightful you are – and how right! Your comments on our powerless feeling of where are we going and/or what do we do now are so real. But as I look into God’s Word, how can I not feel secure that His plans, and of course He has them, enable us to feel His care, power and plans, so it is sweet to read over the many such promises and realize that will take care of us in whatever way He deems best. Thank you for such a passage, and your enabling thoughts.


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