In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft: in his quiver hath he hid me (Isaiah 49:2).
“In the shadow.” We must all go there sometimes. The glare of the daylight is too brilliant; our eyes become injured, and unable to discern the delicate shades of colour, or appreciate neutral tints – the shadowed chamber of sickness, the shadowed house of mourning, the shadowed life from which the sunlight has gone.
But fear not! It is the shadow of God’s hand. He is leading thee. There are lessons that can be learned only there.
The photograph of His face can only be fixed in the dark chamber. But do not suppose that He has cast thee aside. Thou art still in His quiver; He has not flung thee away as a worthless thing.
He is only keeping thee close till the moment comes when He can send thee most swiftly and surely on some errand in which He will be glorified. Oh, shadowed, solitary ones, remember how closely the quiver is bound to the warrior, within easy reach of the hand, and guarded jealously.
--Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer
In some spheres the shadow condition is the condition of greatest growth. The beautiful Indian corn never grows more rapidly than in the shadow of a warm summer night. The sun curls the leaves in the sultry noon light, but they quickly unfold, if a cloud slips over the sky. There is a service in the shadow that is not in the shine. The world of stellar beauty is never seen at its best till the shadows of night slip over the sky. There are beauties that bloom in the shade that will not bloom in the sun. There is much greenery in lands of fog and clouds and shadow. The florist has “evening glories” now, as well as “morning glories.” The “evening glory” will not shine in the noon’s splendour, but comes to its best as the shadows of evening deepen.
If all of life were sunshine,
Our faces would be fain
To feel once more upon them
The cooling plash of rain.
--Henry Van Dyke