No Shadow of Turning

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift descends from above, from The Father of lights with whom there is no change nor a shadow of turning.”

As a boy, then as a young man, I experienced some things that no one should ever have to endure. From the age of nine until my first year of marriage at age twenty-six, I lived with anger, self-doubt, and deep emotional pain. I felt as if God had completely forgotten me and had left me vulnerable and unprotected. As a result, at the age of nineteen, I began abusing drugs and alcohol. I could barely live with the pain and the shame. These substances temporarily numbed the pain. But when they wore off, the pain was still there… sometimes even greater than before. Although I didn’t always see it at the time, looking back, I can see times where God sent “angels” to me at my darkest moments. At my deepest moment of pain, contemplating suicide, I felt the touch of Jesus’ hand and heard His gentle voice speaking His peace and love to me. This is a moment I will never forget.

During my first year of marriage, I was able to, with the help of God, my wife, Brenda and some good and godly counselors, finally conquer the pain and endless self questioning. Never during this time did my dad or my wife reject me or judge me.  They just loved me, prayed for me, and continued to reach out to me… although at times I’m sure they had their own questions, they showed me only their love.

This life can bring some hard but important lessons. I learned some lessons about my father, whose love carried me when I could not carry myself. I learned some lessons about my wife, whose strength and courage bolstered me at my weakest moments. Most of all, I learned a life-altering lesson about God.  The Bright Shadow of God is a constant. It exists without change, without fail!

As humans, we falter. We can utterly fail. We are painfully flawed. But we have a Father who is perfect. He longs to give us every good gift. He desires the very best for us. He never changes. His Bright Shadow never moves away from us.

Looking back on my life I can clearly see all the moments where His Bright Shadow fell upon my life, bringing His overwhelming love and comfort. Occasionally we will reject Him. Our pain can blind us to His love. We can turn away from His love, even blame Him for our pain. But we have a patient and loving Father. He is there, even when we are not fully aware. He gently draws us under His Bright Shadow.

He never changes.

His compassion and love are constant.

As He always was, He will always be.

He is faithful and true.

He LOVES us… and His immense faithfulness endures throughout eternity.

There is no shadow of turning!

About John M. Stewart

I am a university administrator, part-time professor, writer, photographer, and a musician. I love live theater, music, hikes in the woods, and walks on the beach. I am a spiritual sojourner. My blog is about this life journey and how my faith impacts and intersects with my life journey. View all posts by John M. Stewart

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