For You are my help; I will sing for joy in the shadow of Your wings. (Psalm 63: 7)
A shadow can be a safe place of respite and shade, or it can be a dark place of loneliness and fear. Over the past year many shadows have been cast over the nations as we have struggled collectively under the weight of the Covid pandemic, and for many the shadows continue to loom. We have all walked through valleys of shadows to some degree. The valley of the shadow of death. The valley of the shadow of loneliness. The valley of the shadow of sickness.
My daughter has limped through the valley of chronic illness this past year. Last spring she experienced a sudden onset of debilitating symptoms at a time when there was limited access to physicians due to the pandemic. For many months there were no answers, no accurate diagnoses and medication attempts that only made symptoms worse. There were days when she literally could not stand or walk without almost fainting, and so together we staggered through the dark valley we found ourselves in, seemingly lost, as I literally and figuratively had to carry her.
One night after a particularly bad episode for her, I remember crying out to the Lord. Standing by my bedroom window gazing up at the vast night sky, I called out to God to hear me. With tears running down my face, I unloaded every emotion imaginable, as I begged Him to help us and to do something. We had prayed hard, our prayer team had prayed, our church had prayed and yet no answers came.
Within moments however, a calm reassurance touched my soul and His voice spoke to my spirit, “Trust me. I have this in hand. Just trust me and wait.”
Yes, sometimes there is waiting to be done in the shadows. Like many people, I am not good at waiting. I like things to be organized and sorted out quickly and easily! Yet I was reminded that though we walk through the valley of shadows, we are not alone. We do not wait alone. We do not need to be afraid because He is with us (Psalm 23:4)
Because of His tender mercy he is present with us, shining like a light in the darkness to guide us:
“because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1: 78-79)
Did you catch that last part “…to guide our feet into the path of peace”? Is it possible to have peace in the shadows and valleys of life? Yes, it is! Because His shadow is far bigger than the shadows life casts over us.
He conceals us and keeps us safe under His own shadow because we are the apple of his eye – so incredibly precious and valuable to Him.
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8)
To be kept as the apple of the eye means to always be kept safe, even from the small things like dust and grit. It also means to be kept sensitive and tender, free of obstruction, and to be kept useful and beautiful. (How precious is the eye!)
Not only can we find peace and safety under His shadow, but we also find rest.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1)
Safely hidden in Him, it is possible to find rest as we wait in or walk through life’s valleys. In fact, Psalm 63: 7 speaks of “singing for joy in the shadow of his wings” It is possible, when safely covered by His Presence, to sing for joy in the darkness! We can sing in the shadows because we belong to Him and we have His promises!
Last year as my daughter and I waited and limped on through the valley of sickness, we learned to sing in the shadows. Quietly at first, but there were good moments, better moments, and moments where we worshipped, simply because of God’s faithfulness, not because of our circumstances. Once we found Him in the valley we were able to sing.
And He was faithful. He kept His word. He knew the exact day and time that this desperate Mother’s prayers from the shadows would be answered. Many more months went by, but I did not forget His word. Finally, one October day, many specialist appointments later, we found ourselves in the office of a young doctor who had recently moved to the area who “just happened” to have trained with one of the country’s leading specialists on POTS syndrome, which is what my daughter’s final diagnosis was. He prescribed a medication which has completely changed her life and restored her heart and functioning to normal. A year ago, she doubted she would ever be able to work again or return to independent living, but just this past week, she did just that! A year ago, it seemed impossible, but by the grace of God, she is now well and returning to her old life. And just the other day, a promise came…
“Those who live in his shadow will again raise grain, and they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:7)
Those who live in the safety of His shadow, no matter what shadows life casts over them, will again “raise grain”. They will work once more, they will blossom once more. Abundance will be restored, and they will flourish. That is His promise to my daughter, but also His promise for you dear friend.
He is with you. He has heard you. You are safe under the shadow of His wings. You are not alone in life’s valleys. His shadow is far greater and than any shadow life casts over you, and in Him you can find peace, safety and rest. I pray that you will learn to sing in the shadows as you remember his love and faithfulness.
Prayer: Father, thank you for this reminder that we are never alone, even in the valleys and the shadows of life. Thank you for your faithfulness. Keep me as the apple of your eye dear Lord, and teach me to be patient, to wait, to rejoice and to sing under the shadow of your wings, that I might live for your glory. Amen.