Well, if Punxsutawney Phil had been in our area last Saturday morning, he would've seen his shadow and scurried back into his hole, telling us there'd be a long six more weeks of winter.
If he hadn't seen his shadow (which was the case where Phil lives in Pennsylvania), he would've stayed out indicating that there'd be an early spring only a mere month and a half away.
We don't have groundhogs in our area, but our prairie dogs don't seem to be afraid of their own shadows, probably because we have very few cloudy days compared to wintertime in the eastern U.S.
Anyway, as I pondered that on Groundhog Day, it occurred to me that a lot of people act as if they're afraid of their own shadow, while others live without fear.
Some, like a hibernating groundhog, are so used living in dark places that they fear the light because shadows are cast. For example, when was the last time you were doing the speed limit, but still took your foot of the gas when you saw a police car? The police aren't part of the shadows; rather, we cast our own shadows of fear in regard to the law.
We need not live in fear if we obey the law (Romans 13:3-4).
Only lawbreakers need to fear, but many seemingly innocent people fall into that category because they haven't enough faith to accept the perfect love that casts out fear (John 3:16-21; Romans 14:23; 1 John 4:16-18).
Those who've accepted the perfect love and received the knowledge of the truth (Christians), but deliberately keep on sinning, are left with a fearful expectation of the judgment, even regarding something as simple as church attendance (Hebrews 10:25-31; 6:4-1; 2 Peter 2:20).
While we need not fear our own shadow, there are things in other shadows that we should have enough respect for to avoid the shadows altogether (Ephesians 5:8-12).
We also need to be careful of those who seem to be in the light for that's how Satan will approach us, although he's like a lion looking to devour us (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Jude 4; 1 Peter 5:8-9). Satan and his minions aren't really in the light; they merely appear to be there, but it's a falsely lit area with a lot of shadows.
Familiarity with God's word will help us recognize those who come out of the darkness to deceive us (Matthew 7:15-18; 1 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17). With diligent study, we can understand who and what is in the shadows, and their tactics to deceive, and that we can put them to flight because they really are the fearful ones (2 Corinthians 5:11; James 4:7; 2:19).
Then we can remain in a light where no shadows are cast and we need not worry about how long it will be until the springtime of everlasting life comes where we'll be in the presence of eternal light without shadow (1 John 1:5-7; Revelation 22:1-5).
Are you afraid of your own shadow?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org