Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.
Too often, I find myself walking in yesterday’s shadow.
“God is light,” we are told, “and in him there is no darkness at all.”
Why, then, do I so often find myself living in a shadow?
I know what causes the shadow. The darkness comes when I step off from God’s path. Doubt, dread, and shame dim the brightness that comes from the Holy One.
So does fear.
Sometimes, I find fear when I find myself walking near the valley of the shadow of death. I should fear no evil. But I do.
I find I cannot leave yesterday behind. Its shadow follows me into the night. It is there when I awake to the new day.
I cannot just forget the past and move on. I feel I must fix the past. But I cannot undo what has been done. I cannot go back in time and make things right. I cannot turn darkness into day.
The new day may not dawn as dark as the old. But if even a shadow of it remains, my soul feels the weight.
King David knew what that was like, and he knew who was applying the pressure. He wrote: “For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Psalm 32:4).
So, God had applied pressure upon David. Is God the one who causes the darkness? Is he the one who removes my joy? Is this how he punishes me?
He comes to scatter the darkness. He comes to heal, not to hurt.
But healing can be painful.
King David had lived for a long time in a misery of his own making. Adultery and murder had cast long shadows. No matter if his people did not know of his crimes, he knew, and he staggered under the weight of the guilt.
Each yesterday handed off the guilt to the next day. Like the darkness at noon on Good Friday, the sunshine of God’s favor was being blotted out.
Until he admitted his guilt and turned to God for forgiveness. He wrote, “I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD“—and you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
He added this prayer: “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).
With guilt gone, there is no barrier to joy.
The psalmist declares: “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)
The answer is, No one! Nothing!
The shadow of doubt and fear must fade in the light of God’s presence.
The path of the child of God is clear now. It is written, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Yesterday’s shadows must always give way to the light of the Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, show us the path of light and life. Call us back when we stumble off of your path. Let us live in the light of your presence. Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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