God is definitely hitting me with the fence boards this week. He has already shown me the fence as a structure- today He is showing me the shadows cast by them.
This morning I picked up the study guide for the Women’s Bible Study that is beginning tonight called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. I’ve got to be honest here. When I signed up for this study I had no idea what it was about. That is typical for me. My girl said “study” and I said “Yes!”. Today, I thumbed through the first section and glanced at a page in which the author gives some words of encouragement. I scanned the page and saw the word “overcome” followed by Fear…depression…discouragement…bitterness…worry…anxiety…blaming…hopelessness.
Then Philippians 4:8 came to mind.
Whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable…excellent…PRAISEWORTHY…Think about such things.
The words in that first list counter the words given by God in Philippians and yet they still prove to be very effective tools for Satan. While Satan’s tools have been replaced by the truth in God’s toolbox, that slanderer still manages to hit me with his hammer or do a little sawing from time to time. I have been praying this week about the fences of offense that God has pointed out to me.
In my notebook this morning, I wrote something that I feel compelled to share:
Where walls and fences exist, there are shadows. Fences I put up to protect myself from others only separate me from God. Standing on the inside, I see and feel the warm light – but also see the shadows cast as the light shines from behind the fence.
A tree that provides the shade is firmly rooted in the rich ground and is coursing with life and it grows in the light of the sun.The comfort of the shade belongs to the Lord.
A tree uprooted, cut down and milled; made into a fence. The darkness of the shadow cast by that dead, decaying wooden fence belongs to Satan.
Yet another tree- cut down and milled into a cross…holding the sacrifice of a son, death of sin and the promise life eternal!
The walls and fences that I have put up block the sun…they block the SON. Standing in the light, the shadows are only a few steps away…lingering. They stretch out – long as the day wears on and I have to reposition myself to see the sun and avoid the cool darkness of those shifting, stretching shadows. Shadows of fear, anxiety, worry, depression, discouragement, bitterness, blaming and hopelessness. Fences decay over time. They rot, become worn, they splinter, and get entangled with weeds and vines as they grow, twist and choke. Routine maintenance and applying a few coats of crisp white paint only covers the flaws and hides the dirt for a time- until the stains of time and the sun damage begin to take it’s toll again. Peeling paint, revealing the death underneath. Painting fences is futile. It’s useless time and attention given to a decaying object that is keeping me captive and is blocking the SON. Instead of repositioning myself and dancing around the shadows; instead of painting, I need to pray harder. I need to ask God for a Bobcat and a wood chipper! It is not enough to remove a few boards, I need to remove the whole structure.
Where walls and fences are NOT present, shadows don’t exist. Amazing freedom…unfenced! Warmth in the light of the SON.
- defensive barrier: a tall fence or enclosure made of wooden posts driven into the ground side by side to keep out enemies or intruders
- area inside barrier: an area surrounded by a stockade
- military prison: a prison on a military base, especially an army or air force base
A stockade fence begins to resemble a picket fence when some of the boards are removed. Picket fences, while pretty, are still fences- they just allow more light to pass through. The fence may be far off in the distance…but it is true that even pretty picket fences cast long, dark shadows.
***If you want to see something interesting…look up “shade” and “shadow” on your Bible app. While there are a few exceptions, you will quickly see the connotations of each are pretty clear. I have listed some references below to get your study started!
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)
There is no deep shadow, no utter darkness, where evildoers can hide. (Job 40:22)
Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. (1 Chron 29:15)
The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand (Psalm 121:5)
I will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. (Isaiah 4:6)
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. (Song of Solomon 2:3)