Life is full of moments where the sun shines only for a brief season and then it moves on. Three Scripture-based hope-filled truths for the Christian life based on James 1:17 and our God who does not change like shifting shadows. Jennifer Garner said Ben Affleck can “cast quite a shadow,” and there is some truth in that statement that applies to life in general.

3 Truths for Life’s Shadow Seasons

Life is full of moments where the sun shines only for a brief season and then it moves on. Three Scripture-based hope-filled truths for the Christian life based on James 1:17 and our God who does not change like shifting shadows. Jennifer Garner said Ben Affleck can “cast quite a shadow,” and there is some truth in that statement that applies to life in general.I read a quote that emerged from a celebrity divorce. The wife said this about the husband:
“When his sun shines on you, you feel it. But when the sun is shining elsewhere, it’s cold. He can cast quite a shadow.” (Source)

Beyond the immediate context, the heart of the statement struck me as a commentary on so much of life.

Life is full of moments when the sun shines only for a brief season and then it moves on. Some of these are stages that were never meant to last forever. When the kids grow up, the career takes a turn, or the event ends, it’s considered the normal progression. Other endings come as a surprise —marriages dissolve, health deteriorates, or any number of unexpected tragedies surface.

Sometimes we might be tempted to chase the sun, convinced that if we could just catch up to the light again, we could emerge from the shadows. {No analogy is perfect, so I would like to first acknowledge there are things worth chasing. Marriage is one of them.} But what about things that are out of our control?

… when our nest empties, a loved one exits our life, or a treasured relationship becomes unrecognizable.
… when the thing we thought our future held disappears and we struggle to regain purpose.
… when all we’ve invested in moves beyond our control and our sacrifices go unnoticed.
… when joy is fleeting and we don’t even know why.
… when it’s just time for something different and we’re not sure what that is (or we do know what lies ahead and we aren’t sure if we’re up for the change).

These are shadow moments. Regardless of whether we expected the sun to set or not, it turns cold when it does. The darkness of the shadow replaces the light and we feel alone and undone, unsure of what to do next.

If (or rather when) you find yourself in the shadows, here are three relevant truths I’ve been contemplating from both God’s creation and His revelation.

1-The sun will rise again

In these shadow seasons that are out of your control, you simply can’t run fast enough to catch the sun. The answer is to be still (“cease striving”) and know that God is God. Wait in the darkness and refuse to fear the shadows.

Since lives don’t run on 24-hour cycles, you can’t know with certainty when the light will reappear. However, you can know by faith that it will indeed shine again in your life. The same Creator who ordained the sun to set is the one who will command it to rise again.

The song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” currently tops my playlist. I love the lyrics but the story behind the song captivated my own heart. The lyrics build on this shadow theme:

“Let the shadows fall away; step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door; you don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been and tell your heart to beat again”

Through it all, hold on to hope. Hope is never lost for the one who has entrusted it to our unchanging God. And that’s the next thing.

 

2-Shadows may shift but God does not

Even when the circumstances or seasons of life seemingly fail you, God doesn’t. James was inspired to use this shadow analogy to remind us the One who created the changing seasons and the celestial cycle does not cycle in and out of our lives nor grow cold to our pain and struggles.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
(James 1:17)

This is not just theology — it becomes soul-sustaining lifeology. There are three specific reasons I think someone might need to let this truth settle deep within.

A-You have wandered.

Whether it’s overt sin or a heart that has grown distant, you know your shadows are your own doing. You’ve left your first love and wonder if God could possibly stomach the idea of giving you a do-over for the umpteenth time. The answer is yes. His mercy is boundless and His grace calls your name.

Salvation and forgiveness are not contingent on your performance but on Jesus’ sacrifice. Follow King David’s lead and ask God to both clean your heart and restore to you the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51).

B-God seems distant.

Your prayers are hitting the ceiling. You beg for answers and they don’t come. Despite your best efforts at the Christian disciplines, you can’t shake the dense fog where all reasonable thoughts disappear. You wake up to darkness and go to bed surrounded by darkness and the enemy feels closer than the Lord. This may be your own wilderness experience where you are being prepared for an assignment beyond your comprehension or it is a valley you must go through to get to the next mountain.

Continue to draw close to the shepherd-Savior and the one who defeated the enemy in the wilderness. Faith is fueled by trials. Feelings follow truth eventually. Don’t let your emotions and experiences get control of the narrative in your head. That role belongs to God’s Word.

C-Others have failed you.

There is a difference between will and willing. Others may be willing to comfort you, willing to defend you, willing to stay with you — but their willingness will fail at some point. There is only one who does not turn, will not shift, and cannot move.

Jesus followed God’s perfect will straight to the cross so that you could be with Him for all eternity. That is a will and a love that did not fail millennia ago and will not fail you today or tomorrow. Drive a stake into the ground and hold onto that truth. It does not magically make it easy, but it will eventually stabilize you and then allow you to move forward from here.

 

3-Time is on God’s side

James calls God the “Father of lights.” Think about this: when God created the heavens, those stars were brand new but had the appearance of age — light-years to be exact. Jesus’ first miracle was to turn water into wine and that brand new wine was the most seasoned and aged drink served at the wedding.

When you are eclipsed by shadows, one fear that seeks to take root is the idea you’ll never return to the “you” you used to be. You question if joy, purpose, deep fellowship, or even stability will ever be regular components of your life going forward.

Relationships, career, reputation, bank account, your place in the church, and a host of other valued things take time to grow and build. When life has moved on or you’ve been called to leave, you wonder if you’re up to the rebuilding process. I know this well.

But here’s what God is also teaching me at this moment in time.

He is not bound by time or human timelines. Yes, there is a natural order and progression but we serve a God who can and does work outside of those boundaries anytime He chooses. I’ve watched Him do this in my life in multiple areas within the last year and I testify to you, dear friend. Do your part to rebuild when the time comes but don’t buy into the lie that it’s all up to you and don’t put God into that famous “box.”

He can restore and replenish the years the locust ate away in one season if He so chooses (Joel 2:25). He can present you with a new friend or other relationship that feels like you’ve known each other for decades. He can open doors and provide opportunities to both serve and lead that are not based on years of climbing a ladder or paying your dues. He can move His servants to provide for your needs in ways you never imagined.

 

Keep walking

As I write this, we are approaching Daylight Saving Time weekend. This marks the onset of spring; all across the northern hemisphere, neighborhoods will see a rise in the number of joggers, walkers, and strollers each evening.

Where I live, the sunsets are breathtaking, so the best time to walk is just before the light fades. And sometimes, the cost of walking into the sunset means I’ll be returning home in the shadows.

As I walk toward home, I won’t fear the shadows. I won’t cower in the darkness on the side of the road until the light returns. I’ll continue to place one foot in front of the other while my puppy scampers in and out of the woods, listening for new sounds and exploring new smells.

What other choice do I have if I want to get home?

Dear friend, I think you get my point. Keep stepping. The journey isn’t over until God calls you home.

 

P.S. Are you my email friend?

If you’re reading this, it’s quite possible you need encouragement. I have something that might help: my Scripture mini-guide, 6 Cries of the Heart. It comes with a link to a companion set of praise song playlists. It’s free for my email friends. Life is hard. Don’t do it alone.

Encouraging You as You Inspire others,

Christi
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6 Cries Mini-guide and Website

God who created changing seasons and celestial cycles doesn't cycle in and out of our lives or change.Click To Tweet
The same Creator who ordained the sun to set is the one who will command it to rise again #ShadowsClick To Tweet
Hope is never lost for the one who has entrusted it to our unchanging God. #ShadowsOfLifeClick To Tweet
God isn't bound by time or human timelines; He can work outside those boundaries anytime He choosesClick To Tweet

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Christi3 Truths for Life’s Shadow Seasons

Comments 6

  1. Horace@pleasingtothePotter.com

    I was excited to receive your latest post in my email Christi. Thank you for sharing what God revealed to you on a plan in a storm. I love how He uses circumstances in life to remind, encourage, and clarify for us just how Amazing His love is! I am always blessed and encouraged when you share what God lays on your heart. Have a wonderful Sunday as we “spring forward”. Blessings to you and yours my friend!

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  2. Lois Flowers

    God is not bound by time or human timelines. What a relief, what a comfort, and what a timely word, Christi! It’s so good to see your name whenever it pops up in my inbox, my friend!

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      Christi

      What a precious thing to say about your inbox :) Thank you for that.

      And yes, the “outside of timelines” concept is one that is speaking to me on many levels right now. So in awe of our great God!

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