By God’s grace and mercy I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I was blessed by God to be reared by godly parents and influenced by other people of faith throughout my childhood, youth, and young adulthood. I am a husband, father, and grandfather. To God I give the praise for the beautiful woman of faith who said “yes” to my awkward proposal of marriage. We are grateful for our three children, their spouses, and our eight grandchildren. For forty-four years I served as a minister to churches in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Mississippi, where I was blessed to serve one church for twenty-two years.
I trust I am not being presumptuous in using C. S. Lewis’s description of life on this earth in the title I have given this blog. On the final page of The Last Battle, through the great lion, Aslan, C. S. Lewis describes our world, this present life, as the Shadowlands. All the good of life, all the intended blessings of God’s creation are but shadows of the promised new heavens and new earth. In the Shadowlands there is corruption, pain, and suffering. There is the weakness of the human body, spirit, and will: a body vulnerable to disease, injury, and death; a will and conscience subject to deception and moral breakdown; a mind, however dull or sharply intelligent, subject to presumptions, prejudices, and blurred vision. My time in the Shadowlands grows ever longer and at the same time ever shorter.
I have been many years in the Shadowlands, enough that I am now a part of the old generation. With all those years behind me, of growing up, studying and preparing, experiencing marriage, parenting, ministry, I continue my journey. I continue fumbling my way through the shadows, through the imperfections that are mine, and through the dark regions of my understanding. The light I have found cannot be my resting place, there are still too many shadows.
During my journey I have come to understand that the glasses through which we all view history, politics, religion, God, the Bible, and life itself, are tinted by the experiences of our lives. Where and when we were born, family, school, church or no church, career, peace, war, successes, failures, tragedies, death, and everyone who enters our lives, all tint the glasses through which we see and seek to understand. My glasses were tinted very darkly when our seventh grandchild was diagnosed with leukemia at age two months, spent thirteen months fighting and suffering from this horrid disease, and dying at age fifteen months. Most everything in life, especially my understanding of God and of Scripture, are now studied through these tinted glasses.
As I continue the journey through the shadows I must take into account the glasses through which I see if I am going to find more light. I must continue the journey seeking more light until finally I attain the goal and rise out of the Shadowlands into the fullness of the light of God and his Lamb in the new Jerusalem. Only then will the shadows dissipate. Only then will I know as fully as I am known. Until then I find peace, joy, and strength from the rays of the Light flickering through the shadows.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).