Here in England the winter gives us long nights and short days; the sun has only a little warmth, and the shadows are dark. I am, however, amazed at the good that comes out of winter; when the snow is deep, the frosts are sharp, and the rainfall persistent. Good things happen deep in the frozen earth that help to guarantee crops and harvest later in the year. As I was thinking about this I remembered a well-known Arabian proverb that succinctly states, “Sunshine all the time makes a desert.”
As there are seasons in nature, so there are seasons in life, too. Every human being knows those lovely times of joyous sunshine and the contrasting times of dark shadows. Such shadows could be those of the sickroom or the hospital, the darkness of grieving and loss, or those personal shadows of confusion, misunderstanding, and heartache [to name just a few]. Where are we in the shadows? Has Yahweh forsaken us?
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “In the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.” [Isaiah 49:2 NIV] If we can believe it, the ‘shadows’ are the shadow of Yahweh’s hand. He is the One that is leading and He knows there are some lessons that can only be learned right where we are. “The photograph of His face can only be developed in the dark room.” writes F.B. Meyer with piercing clarity.
The prophet says that Yahweh has made him into a polished arrow, which speaks to me of our Father personally crafting beauty and usefulness; and the arrow is hidden in His quiver. A quiver would have been tied closely to the warrior, where it would have been zealously protected, and its contents always within easy reach of his hand. Are you feeling isolated, despairing, desperate? As though Yahweh has ‘abandoned’ you to your shadows? You are shadowed only by His own hand, you are safe in His quiver, attached to His Person, within easy reach of His hand!
Photo: Susbany > https://pixabay.com/en/medieval-arrow-quiver-leather-143924/