Shadows and Light

I have this beautiful picture of my family that I took while on vacation.  I had been preoccupied with facing the magnificent ocean, searching for the perfect shot to capture what was escaping my heart – love, awe, wonder, a touch of fear – shooting my camera over and over, capturing the waves that were crashing toward the pier.

In this moment of self-imposed isolation, I noticed how the sun was behind me.  I could see that my family was making shadows play on the churning water.  I immediately became obsessed with capturing that moment on film (or disk) and wanting to cherish it.  Actually, I was thinking it would make a good Facebook profile picture.  That’s how immediate my thoughts went from the Eternal to me.

Today, I took that photo and set it as my desktop picture.  Sitting at my desk, pondering how and where God is working in me today, I can’t help but wonder where He is in my life.  Everything is upside down and I feel like our family is in limbo.  We have more questions than answers and God’s words are vague, requiring me to think more than I care to.  It’s frustrating, having to listen for the quiet in the midst of the storms of life. 

I sat back and stared, really stared, at my shadowy picture.   The memories of that windy afternoon coming back, I could smell the salt, hear the wind and feel the pulsation of the water.  Then something miraculous happened – in that moment, I could see the position of the sun, not just as a feature of lighting and shadow that I captured in one moment, but as how God is there, ever present, keeping me in His light.

The ocean, churning, powerful, stormy, and relentless is in the foreground.  My life is seemingly out of control, like the water.  The shadow of all seven of us sits on the face of the water, in limbo, constantly changing form and adjusting to the façade of the ocean.  But the sun is out.  It is there.  It is behind us, reminding us of His ever-present warmth and love.  It’s a wonderful gift, that picture.  I can see the chaos, how I won’t be able to adapt, ever, to something solid.  I must be flexible, like my shadow.  I must remember, that even though life throws water, spray, power and erosion at me, my shadow can endure because it is God who lights my dark.  I only need turn around and embrace the Son. 

This photo is my treasure.  Instead of a neat contrast of light and happenstance, it reminds me of God’s ever-presence.  I pray this picture will carry me through these next few months of indecision, helping me to realize that the solidity I look for will never be in my own life, on my own time. It is only in God.  He will light my way and will keep me warm.  That valuable moment will not soon be forgotten. 

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