This is probably as good as anytime to write this. I'm outside my house waiting for the RAC to come and get my car keys out of my vehicle. Just moments ago I received and paid a parking fine. The Switchfoot song "The Shadow Proves The Sunshine" fades into the background.
Shadows and sunshine. Opposites but inseparable. Without sunshine there is no shadow. Nothing can be defined as 'shadow' for there is nothing to compare it against. No such thing as darkness because there has never been such a thing as light. This isn't to say that the sunshine is evil because it gives definition to the shadows. What moulds what we know as darkness isn't darkness itself.
Imagine a world, a life without sunshine. There would be no such thing as darkness either. But that would be because the darkness would be all enveloping. It would be all that we know.
The metaphor of shadows and sunshine is obvious. Death and life. Pain and peace.
Death is one of those words that is rarely used lightly outside of a news broadcasts. Sometimes life can seem horrible because of it; the end of life. Pain is the same. Yet without death and without pain there can never be anything sweet. It is an ironic notion but life is defined by its antonym. Death means that there has been life. Pain means that there has been a time of peace. Or, if we can no longer remember a time before our sufferings, pain means that there will be a time of rest. A time when all must be well.
This is the beauty of it all. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Because of suffering. Because of pain. Because of sacrifice. Because my Lord Jesus Christ has died on the cross for me.
This moment's shadows are insignificant next to this. I know that whatever I go through, whatever darkness I encounter, however much this pain consumes me and whatever lives may fall to death's axe that I have a hope. A knowledge. Faith in Jesus.
O death, where is your sting? Where is your victory?
My problems are so small that I don't know how I can complain about them. Your problems might be much more significant next to mine; but they are nothing next to Christ's crucifixion. It is a light that does not let the shadows form. It is a light that extinguishes them. It is all surrounding and all powerful.
The moment's grief is quickly resolved. The fine is taken as a reminder. The RAC man comes and opens my car. The next song plays. "Calm Down Everything is Fine".