Fantastic News: We’re Still Standing!

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” – Proverbs 4:18

The afternoon heat on August 23rd, 1995 was blistering. In fact, it was the hottest day on record and I was standing in the midst of it off to the side of County Road 9, just below Troy, Alabama. The occasion was a hunting club work party to prepare green fields prior to the fall rains.

Although the air was dry and arid, a mirage of water puddles appeared to litter the blacktop pavement. As the Lord would have it, the sun at my back caused my shadow to extend perfectly across the length of the road. A massive logging truck appeared coming off a ridge a mile or so away. It was completely silent at first, eventually growing into a barreling roar by the time it was bearing down upon me. For whatever reason I was fixated on my shadow as this 85,000-pound truck thundered by. Although my shadow was obliterated for a blink of an eye, I remained standing as before. 

Death and destruction have recently come near each of us, so close in fact some claim to have smelled the aroma of their own mortality. And yet, like that logging truck that came near me, but did not overtake me…We are all still standing. 

Much like King David in Psalm 23. Notice how he did not walk through the valley of death, but rather he walked through the valley of the shadow of death: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” Even more, we find him still standing on the other side…among the green pastures. 

In my opinion, 2021 is setting up much like the opening scene from the first Gospel: “The people who were sitting in darkness have seen a great light. And for those living in the shadow of death, upon them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16) Never is the presence of light more enthralling than when we depart darkness and cross over the threshold into His marvelous light. 

“I find that I crave light as a thirsting man craves water, “wrote Commander Richard Byrd during a six-month sojourn in a metal hut at the South Pole. In the Antarctic winter, the sun made no appearance for four of those months.” Funeral gloom hangs in the twilight sky. This is the period between life and death. This is the way the world will look to the last man when it dies.” Three weeks before the sun was due to return, he wrote in his journal about the sun’s reappearance, “I tried to imagine what it would be like, but the conception was too vast for me to grasp.” How strange those words must have seemed when Byrd later edited that journal for publication, living out his days in a latitude that saw the sun’s rays every day.” – Philip Yancey

Success, according to William Faulkner, “seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” In which case we, as the people of God, are still hanging on and are therefore poised for success: “This momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17

Tragedy historically produces Christianity’s greatest triumphs. And you and I now find ourselves on this side of death’s shadow through which we have passed…and yet we’re still standing. If Charles Swindoll’s quote is even half-way true: “It has been my observation over the years that the deeper the hurt, the greater the usefulness,” rejoice and start preparing for Our Father to use you mightily! 

“It was God after all Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” and made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. …We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:6-9

To reiterate, that’s descriptive of us, and yet we’re still standing which is fantastic news! So be happy. We have so much to look forward to!

“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” – Proverbs 4:18

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