Death to the Shadow

“Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew, Hurin cried: ‘Aure entuluva! Day shall come again!’ Seventy times he uttered that cry, but they took him at last alive.”

~ JRR Tolkien ~ The Silmarillion //

It was one of those days when the world seemed at war with itself.

Wolf-howling winds howled something fierce as the skies darkened, bare branches clutched at low-hanging grey clouds, and rain whipped against windowpanes.

& for some reason, it’s on those days when our emotions tend to plummet. I ADORE grey, turbulent, melancholy days ’cause they make me reflective & get me pondering things I find harder to ponder when the sun’s shining.

But this stormy, wind-swept day found me cringing hard at my own insufficiency and weakness. Things had happened that day (& that week) which left me feeling so very small and embarrassed; ashamed of my finitude & my tendency to over-think & self-sabotage things which were really quite all right before I stepped in.

Ashamed of my insecurities which seemed to stain whatever I touched.

As I stood at the window & watched the world close in, the sky darken from grey to charcoal, and felt the wind fighting hard to pierce its way between cracks and slither along my spine;

I, too, fought a War of my own.

Seductive tentacles of self-pity reached out with grasping arms, beckoning me to surrender to their embrace & stew on my shortcomings. To grow sour & moody & chaotic in a mirror-image of the world outside my window. To drown my sorrows in music or books or something that would have me shoving this all into a dark corner of my heart to be revisited at a later date. To chew over my pain, analzying it from every angle, inflating it to a monstrous size in an inaccurate reflection of reality.

To make myself and my feelings an idol. To add sin to what had only been a mistake.

I’ve done it before, many times, & it never brings lasting relief.

So, by the grace of the Spirit, I made the conscious decision to pray instead of stew. Lovely humans, the Most High doesn’t lie. His words bleed fire & when He said, through King David, “trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; our God is a refuge of us”,

He meant it.

& the funny thing was I’d just read those words that same morning, & then there I was, putting them to the test & finding them true yet again. Yet another reminder that spending time with our Saviour each day isn’t an option; it’s vital. How will we fight if we haven’t got ammunition? & where else are we going to find that firepower if not in Scripture?

So I poured out my shame, embarrassment, weakness, fear, & sorrow to my Heavenly Father & in that moment, by His strength alone, I defeated the Shadow that day.

‘Cause so often, lovely humans, it’s here that our battles are lost or won; in split-second decisions that have hours-long consequences.

In moments that ambush us when we’re all too ready to give in. Our hearts are tinderboxes & there’s sparks aplenty in this minefield world. I’m learning, over&over, that a minefield world is no excuse for welcoming sin with open arms or a defeated shoulder-sag. If Christ has saved us, He’s given us power to wield against the Shadow;

a power outside of ourselves that has now come to make a home within us;

a power than enables us to mortify sin even when its blood stains our skin each time we swing the sword;

the power of the High King Himself.

& the Shadow can’t take us if we’re fighting.

So may we all determine now, when we’re sober & standing in the light, that when the hounds of Darkness come for us, we will not go quietly;

we will not go at all.

Not ’cause we’ve got it in us on our own, but ’cause He’s already defeated the Darkness & He has promised grace in the hour of trial. On those days when the wind’s howling, the sky’s heavy with thunder, & we’re bowing low to welcome the storm, may we remember the Banner we fight under,

the King to Whom we’ve sworn allegiance,

& the power of prayer against sin.

Death to the Shadow, day shall come again 🖤

• courage, always courage; behold, we have not lived in vain •

photo image of the Tolkien quotation above • courtesy of the magnificent Fell & Fair


2 thoughts on “Death to the Shadow

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