The Valley of the Shadows can be a dark, lonely place. There is no color there.
No hint of spring or the growth of new life. No promises of better things to come.
We all know people who choose to sit in darkness, and as I reflected upon this early today, I suffered for it. If only we would all not pass over Easter.
Because even in the Light of joy, it is likely there is a dark place within your view too. Maybe you know the place, or maybe you can’t take your eyes from someone who has chosen to make a life there.
Honestly, waking through the night last night, I was mindful of what I learned yesterday. What I am horrified by, actually. Because yesterday, I learned someone I know might be at the end of his life, and his life has been spent on avoiding the light and the promises of Easter.
Talk about God’s timing.
Though it appears his next life quickly approaches, this man has made this one so full of torment for himself and those around him, he is unable to see what has been freely given him. In the literal darkness of a room in an ICU, gloom seems a permanent obstruction to what could have been. What could still be. God’s love is no less for this man than for his others.
I grieve anger and selfishness but this isn’t because this man I know has nearly destroyed the hearts of everyone around him, including me. Rather, I lament what his greed has cost him. What he has created for himself. I see his anguish. I FEEL it for him.
I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to see him folded in on himself there, fortified by material possessions and a belief that he is his own god and I cry out inwardly for what he has turned down, for the abundance his soul could have enjoyed here in this time, free of malevolent shadows and an ideology that supports pursuit of all that fades.
Oh, that I could change his life for him, the one he chooses to live under a spirit of pervasive stubbornness that keeps his shackles anchored in place to dark things. Shackles that will never come off without appeal to the One who holds the keys for removal.
That’s what Easter is all about. It’s all about the promise of Love in Living Color!
With this kind of Love, the human soul knows freedom forever, in a world that never loses the green of spring. True love isn’t momentary but sustaining and eternal and there are no strings or shackles or dark shadows there.
We each long to look into the eyes of another and see it. As part of the sustenance each human needs is love’s nourishment. Unconditional, unchanging, all-consuming devotional love. No matter our achievements or worldly fulfillment, our socio-economic status or mental acuity, we must have love, and though there are glimmers of it on occasion when we meet the gaze of another here on this planet, it is never enough. It is only the eyes of Jesus that carry it as it was meant to be, and one day we will meet this truth on a profoundly emotional level we can’t come close to imagining.
We love because He loved us first.
The Passover Lamb paints a beautiful picture of what this looks like because in it we see the sacrifice of all sacrifices as proof of an outrageous, mind-blowing, sacrificial Love. The kind that pulls us out of slavery from the dark shadows and things that bind us to misery.
Jesus sacrificed so we could experience the true Passover. With his blood over the door frames of our hearts, as symbolized by the physical acts of the Israelites just prior to their exodus from bondage, we are spared death and suffering for all eternity.
If you are stuck in the shadows, now is the day to step out into a new world of freedom to rejoice with those who celebrate the Passover of the shadows this Easter weekend.
There is nothing to lose but an eternity in darkness.
The Love of Living Color can be yours forever, just as it can be for those in their last moments here.
Let’s be mindful of our sweet Passover this Easter. And pray for it to bloom in the hearts, souls, and minds of all people. There, bright light streams through open windows, wildflowers in rainbow colors grow at the foot of the cross.
There, Easter lives on forever, never to be passed over.
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Joel 2:32