Outside the club house at our condo is a large sheet of asphalt. It is a great parking space for those picking up their mail there. Beyond the road is a row of poplars…golden and glorious as always this fall. Some leaves have already been shed and the asphalt is sprinkled with them.
A light rain and a gentle breeze disturbed the fallen leaves this morning and I was surprised to find the outline of the leaves painted on parts of the asphalt. Even in death they were telling the story of what they had been previously.
I’ve always been attracted to shadows…they represent but are not the real thing. In Psalm 23 it tells us that even if we walk through the shadow of the valley of death…we will fear no evil.
It needs light to expose shadow, for it is not seen in complete darkness. C.S. Lewis writes that “by the sun He sees everything else”. We need light to help us understand life…even those shadows of life. And there are times when those shadows nearly overcome us. I recall those three days my husband was in I.C.U. after his heart attack. There were shadows everywhere, but I held fast to the light of God’s grace, shining in that darkness. And there was light from the prayers of family, friends and the church and eventually the darkness slipped away and I was lost in the “peace that passes all understanding”. Even in Harry’s death from cancer, seventeen years later, I never experienced that same feeling. I didn’t need to, for I knew that death was but a shadow and God’s light was always there.
In Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God, he speaks of “divine fingerprints”. In the real world it takes fingers and ink to make the prints…they are the imprint of someone’s fingers but not the fingers themselves…much as the prints on the asphalt were not the leaves themselves.
We live in a world where we sometimes have to be satisfied with the imprint of God. I know a God “with skin on,” would be easier to understand, and actually that is what Christ was. We want so desperately to make him in our image to better understand him. But so often we just see the imprints of God…in the laughter of children, in the magnificence of a prairie sunset, the hug of a friend, the smile of a loved one. God is not stingy, so today check around, he has left imprints of his love everywhere…just for you.