Today's post is by my talented friend, Emily Stevens.
I'm pretty excited about it! I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.
OH MY GOODNESS. What is that thing behind you?
It is so dark and tall! And it’s touching you! I think it’s trying to get you! Shh… stay perfectly still, and maybe it will go away. It only moves when you move. It seems like it’s copying you.
Oh. Oh wait. My bad. That’s just your shadow, isn’t it?
Sorry. You would think, being a candle, that I’d get used to everything around me casting a shadow. I’ve never quite gotten used to it, though. It’s harder than you think, having everyone who comes near you be followed by a big black monster. It can be scary. I don’t want to get eaten by a monster! But the closer everyone gets to me, the bigger and darker their shadow becomes!
Sometimes, I wish that people could just walk up to me, and I wouldn’t have to see the shadow they cast. Wouldn’t have to see the darkness behind them.
Oh, I recognize that look on your face! “You’re a candle,” you say, “so how can you be afraid of a shadow? Shadows disappear as soon as you touch them.”
You’re right. I am a candle. And I suppose that I do make the room lighter, the darkness around me less deep.
But what I don’t think you understand is that sometimes, being a candle makes everything scarier. It means that there’s a bigger contrast between me and the shadows that people cast. The closer people get to me, the darker and sharper their shadows seem in comparison. Maybe it’s foolish, but sometimes the shadows seem so real, that I could almost believe that they could reach out and snuff me out.
Hasn’t that ever happened to you? Haven’t you ever had somebody who looks good and bright from far away, but when they come close to your light, you see that they have a big dark stain following them? Haven’t you ever worried that, if you shine too bright, the shadows around you will become so dark and so real that you might be snuffed out?
True confessions: certain people make me sputter. They are usually people who I like and who I look up to. I really want them to like me, too. I’m always a little afraid that, if they come near me and see their own shadow because of me, they’ll walk away and never come back.
So I flicker. When those certain people come near me, I hold back my light. I stop taking as much fuel from the wax, and I dim my glow until I am barely burning at all.
Don’t you do it, too? Because you’re a light, too, you know. The Bible says in Matthew 6:14-15: “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.”
You and I are both lights. The Bible says we are supposed to shine all the time and never be hidden under a basket. Of course, the Bible doesn’t exactly say anything about dimming your light, though, does it?
Sometimes I wonder if God knows anything about how scary the shadows can be. He seems more like a floodlight than a humble candle. Surely He’s not afraid of anything!
Except... He was afraid, one time, wasn’t He? In the Garden of Gethsemane. He was afraid to die on the cross (Mark 14:35).
And... when He did die, didn’t the sun go out for a while? (Mark 15:33)
People must have lit candles to see by, then. And in that moment, when the sun went dark and Jesus died, when the candles were lit, their light must have thrown shadows onto the wall. The biggest, darkest shadows in the history of the world.
How scared Jesus must have been! As He died, all his friends and the people he liked ran away from Him (Mark 14:50). Even his Father, who He loved and looked up to more than anything, had to turn His face away (Mark 15:34).
Jesus must have wanted to make His light flicker, then. He must have wanted to not be so bright so that his friends would like Him and accept Him.
But Jesus is called the Light of the World who has the Light of Life (John 8:12). And if the Light of the World and of Life had flickered and gone out, how could any of us be saved? Sure, shining as bright as He could meant that Jesus’s friends walked away from Him, and terrible things happened to Him, and He had to face the darkness head-on.
But He did it for us. Shouldn’t we be willing to do it for Him?
Hmm, that’s funny. The more I think about Him, the brighter my light gets. Your shadow is still there, and it’s still kinda scary. But if I don’t look at your shadow, I can see that the whole rest of the room is getting brighter, and it’s not really so bad anymore.
Shining bright in spite of the shadows can be a pretty good thing, I guess.
Maybe you should try it, too.
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