A Tangible Shadow

I once heard a speaker give an illustration of the old and new covenants, using his marriage. He travels a lot and when he does he enjoys looking at a picture of his wife. It reminds him of the fact that she is at home waiting for him. Imagine, he said, if I went home and instead of relating to my wife, I continued to relate to the picture! Of course his point was, to illustrate the reality of the new covenant and of the personal relationship we have available in Christ. I can’t truly do justice to his illustration because he acted out a scenario, in a very humorous way, of his wife wanting to embrace him upon his return, while he kept holding on to the picture as if it was the reality.

Okay, here’s an illustration that came to my mind today. I imagined my self being very hungry. I’m ushered to the table to view one of my favorite meals – Thanksgiving with all the trimmings: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, fresh biscuits… you get the picture. It’s illuminated with light and casts an impressive shadow on the wall. I’m handed my eating utensils and then directed to…. the shadow! As wonderful as the shadow looks, it will not satiate my hunger. It’s a 2D projection and I normally eat 3D food! (Think of that movie that’s a “must see” in 3D.)

Pretty easy concept to grasp, right? The law was a shadow of things to come; the substance is found in Christ. It’s earthly tabernacle versus the true tent in heaven. But let’s go one step further. Instead of “old covenant to new covenant”, let’s go “new covenant as we now know it” to “AGE TO COME.” One definition of “shadow” is: darkened shape of something in light. Compared to what’s coming, I’m living in a shadow. Compared to where I came from, I’m living in a glorious reality. I really and truly have “tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.” Yet I’ve been painfully aware these past thirty-six years of walking with my Lord, that my DNA is an “Adam versus Christ” battleground. Yes, I know who I am, but then again, boy do I know who I can be! So when I think “darkened shape”, I see shadow – turkey dinner in 2D. When I think “something in light”, I see reality – a foretaste now that tastes really good and leaves me with a deep longing for more.

Speaking of a beautiful woman who I don’t like being apart from, I want to say that I love my marriage. The main reason I love my marriage is due to whom I am married to.  We have both embraced the vision that our earthly marriage is to reflect the heavenly partnership of Christ and His bride. Being married is one primary way to show forth the bridal paradigm; a godly marriage will preach the gospel simply by “being.”

Marrieds and singles, we share a common dream – the wedding to come with our Beloved One. We have a longing for Eden; we are seeking a city to come. That’s the real substance of our lives and it’s what enables us to appreciate the shadow.

All creation groans in agreement with us that this darkened shape pales in comparison to what’s on  the “other side.” Yet it’s a tangible shadow that fulfills in the “here and now”, granting us a foretaste, while fueling the desire to see Him face to face.