The Shadow We Cast
I was recently reading in Acts 5:15-16: “Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits, and they were healed every one.”
Wow — what faith! They wanted to be in Peter’s shadow. Prior to this in Acts 4, the Apostles were given the gift of The Holy Spirit. Then by the next chapter, everyone who was in need was healed!
It is said that in the Asian customs to this day the shadow has much power. For example, if a person of ill repute walks by in the street, people will make certain that the shadow doesn’t fall on them or their children. On the other hand, if a person of great influence or importance passes by, people want to be in the shadow.
Now, you and I both know that there is no power in a shadow alone. However, this started me thinking about the various meanings of the word shadow. It can be a noun, an adjective, or a verb. A newly elected or ordained officer in The Church will shadow someone to learn the position. The Bible has the word shadow 71 times, and the Book of Mormon has it 20 times. It is used in all instances in some of the scripture.
All of this got me thinking about the “shadow” that I cast. For there to be a shadow, there must be light. The Light should be The Light of our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we walk by, do people sense that we have a “good shadow” or do they run the other way not wanting to be in our shadow? We should always pray that our shadow is filled with the love and the light of Jesus.
It's sometimes hard to let the love of Jesus shine through us. But, for me, it's easier when I can see the blessings in all things.
For example, as I write this I have been sitting on the tarmac at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (for the second time on the same plane) wondering if we will take off after the “mechanical issues” have been resolved. Am I a little frustrated and inconvenienced? Sure, but should it stop the light of Jesus from shining through me? No chance. (I'm happy we found out about the mechanical issues before we took off.)
I have learned that if I say “get to” instead of “have to”, I start thinking of things as blessings instead of chores. I get to go to church this Sunday. I get to go to work Monday. Try changing the “have to’s” to “get to’s” and see if that affects the way your shadow appears to others around you.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.