by Eva Zarley
"Even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me." Psalm 23:4
I think I would like to hang up my gloves and retire from my lifelong career of shadow boxing. So often my battles are against my own fears rather than reality. Too much time is spent dreading what might happen or wondering "what if?" and wishing I hadn't "said this" or "done that". It is a fruitless waste of energy and emotion. Worse, it is a sin. Worry and fear shows complete lack of trust in God.
Most of the things I have worried about over the years, have never come to pass. Some have. Yet, my fear and concern did not affect the outcome at all. Jesus said, "Which of you by worrying, can add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:27. I used to fear my first husband's depression would cause him to take his life, and he did. All of my worrying didn't stop that. Over time, some of my fears became reality. However, most of them never materialized. They were wasted battles. I could have simply given them over to Jesus and enjoyed the peace that passes all understanding, even if the worst should actually come upon me.
I have spent countless hours wondering where I would get the money to pay bills, house payments and property taxes. I have feared losing my job, more times than I can recall. I have been troubled over my son, only to find out that my perception was off. I have made assumptions, based on appearances, in so many aspects of my life, been wrong and found that I was upset over nothing. I have been boxing shadows.
Even if the very worst thing we could imagine for ourselves was to occur, it would still be a mere shadow. I have feared evil, poverty, sickness, loss, and death of loved ones. I have suffered them in "reality" but survived and even come to a place of joy again. I have enjoyed good, plenty, health, gain and loved ones, yet it never completely satisfied. That is because everything in this earth is only a shadow. That which is not good will be eliminated in God's eternal kingdom to come. That which is good in this earth is only a shadow of the wonderful things God has prepared for us in His eternal heaven.
Even death, the greatest loss we suffer on this mortal earth, is a shadow. The Psalmist said: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death......" It can only hurt for a season. We shall see our loved ones again. All the pain and sorrow will be wiped away in an instant when we behold our Lord and those whom we loved and lost on earth. Then we will KNOW that death was only a shadow. We will KNOW Jesus lives, we will KNOW our loved ones are alive and well. For now, we must stop fearing and fighting the shadows, and simply trust and believe.
Lord, help me to "hang up my gloves" and rest in You.
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