I have been thinking this morning of C.S. Lewis. At the end of the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia The Last Battle, all of the characters die. When they die they are taken to heaven. When they see heaven they begin to see that all the worlds they have been in were mere Shadowlands in comparison to heaven. Imagine you were to watch the sunset, but not as it truly is. If you were to see the sunset reflected in a mud puddle. Now if that were the only sunset you had ever seen, then I am sure you would believe it to be rather stunning. Think about your amazement and wonder when you would be able to see a true sunset. To see all the varieties of reds, oranges, and yellows as the sun dips below the horizon. Would you not feel that all you had seen before would be like nothing in comparison? You had seen sunsets before, but they had always been a poor reflection of the one true sunset.
How often do we settle to live in the Shadowlands? Do we see the relationships that we have as being the one true thing, when they are merely a crude reflection of the one true relationship. If you had never basked in the sunlight of a true relationship, then the one you're in may seem very good and fulfilling. What if I were to tell you that you are settling for life in the Shadowlands? What you are feeling is just a taste or a glimpse of all that can be. With another person you will never be able to be fully known. There will always be those parts of you that you aren't exactly fond of, that you will be hiding. You will live in constant fear that if your secrets are ever revealed then you will be rejected and abandoned. There is one that has already fully known you. Not only has he fully known you, but he delights in you. He has spent your entire life trying to draw you to himself. He loves you with a true love, not like the Shadowlands love that so far you have settled for. He loves every intimate part of you. Even when you are at your weakest he desires to love you. He desires to be your confidant. God has been trying to bring you out of the Shadowlands, and into the radiance of himself. He has seen as you have tried to fill that empty part of yourself with mere reflections of the joy he wishes to bring you. He is still there. You may have wandered so far away, but he is waiting like the father of the prodigal. He wants to dress you in his royal garments and slaughter the fattened calf. He wants to feast and celebrate that you have returned from the Shadowlands. He wants to celebrate that you have sought life in everything but him, only to realize that you were living in a pig sty. His is a love that will shine light into the darkest parts of you. It will consume you and shallow you up. You just need to let it. Stop settling for the Shadowlands. Stop enjoying all the beauty of the sunset through a mud puddle. Turn your eyes up and see all the beauty waiting to beheld.