16 April, 2009
Living in the shadows is an expression that has many negative connotations. We use it to mean living under a great oppressive force or being dominated. Living in someone else's shadow is seen as something that stops us showing the world what we're made of, it stops us achieving our own goals; taking second place to someone else's ambition. But there was one time when people would do anything to be in the shadow of another person...
In the book of Acts, Peter heals a crippled man and gets himself into a spot of bother with the local Saducees. The main problem that the Saducees had was that they couldn't deny the miracle; many people witnessed the wonderful change in the crippled beggar they saw by the gates of the temple and they believed because of it. Although Peter and John are warned not to carry on preaching, of course they did and we get to a situation where: "The people placed their sick on beds and mats in the streets, hoping that when Peter passed by at least his shadow might fall on them." (Acts 5:15)
Peter was not the promised Messiah. Some people may have thought that he was, but most would have known that he was just a man, and yet they had the faith to believe that if the shadow of this man who had known God fell on them then they would be healed. They didn't expect God to reach from the heavens and touch them with His own hand, they weren't seeking God's own shadow to crawl into, they didn't expect Peter to speak to them himself, all they needed was the shadow of a mortal man who knew God. Amazing. I want to live with that faith. More than that though I want to be a person who knows God so intimately that people feel like they can catch a glimpse of Him just by being close. I want to live in a way where even my shadow declares the glory of God.
If Peter was a flawed and mortal man who made mistakes and screwed things up (and he was), then I am even more imperfect, but God doesn't need perfection to work miracles and change lives. Sometimes, all He needs is for us to be willing to offer our lives for His use. Sometimes all He needs is to borrow our shadows.