November 29, 2011, Richland County, Wisconsin, Lana Peters, the only daughter of JOSEF STALIN, died.
In an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal in 2010, Peters revealed the psychological impact of some of the cruelty her father had inflicted on her:
“He was a very simple man. Very rude. Very cruel,” she said. “He broke my life.” [...]
I wish it had been different for her. I would like to think she found a life out from under what had to have been a long, oppressive shadow.
A world without God makes it hard. (1Jn 5:19) People often see no further than a family name or a people group. We get pigeonholed by the uneducated perceptions of others. When someone constrains us to not "be all we can be", we tend to acquiesce. The more time spent living in someone else's shadow, the harder it becomes to get out from under.
Truth be told, many seem unable or unwilling to do so. The control that others hold over us casts a pall over our lives and compromises our future. Inertia and fear immobilize us, even in potentially dangerous situations. We find ourselves almost subconsciously giving up. We make excuses for those who define their relationship with us by the degree of control they have over us.
This is a theme with nearly infinite variations. However, there are two underlying principles that ought to matter to everyone:
Who are we afraid of? Whose control do we refuse to get out from under? We feel insulated, protected... "if I just do what I am told, everything will be alright." That's how an altar boy might think; how an abused spouse or child might think; how a member of a cult or a legalistic church might think.
Some are severely damaged. They cannot begin to visualize a way out. Maybe we all harbor a proclivity for the convenience of dependence. It's an addictive comfort zone. We don't have to think for ourselves. The path of least resistance becomes our modus operandi. Peer pressure trumps intellectual freedom. If things turn out badly, we blame those who have inflicted themselves on us... while remaining under their shadow. Hopelessness characterizes life lived in the shadow of another. It can feel like an almost irrational amount of courage is needed to break free.
If only we could see who awaits us on the other side!
What would our lives be like if they were purely and freely lived instead under the shadow of the Almighty? Regardless of how oppressive our present situation, God's power to liberate is always greater.
Those who are not being all they can be in Jesus Christ because of someone else, need to revisit Romans 14:12... "So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” None of our reasons for not being everything God intended for us to be are valid. We are given a life that in turn is to be offered back to God in holy service. Finding a way out from under the shadows is not merely about quality of life... it is about fulfilling our deepest obligation to God.
It is possible, you know. "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son," (Col 1:13)
Maybe we underestimate the power of the Gospel. Its invitation is universal. It offers genuine hope about the possibility of the grace of God in our own hearts.
Maybe we do not appreciate the value that God has placed on each individual soul. It is important to him—and to everyone around us—that we not sell ourselves to anyone but God. We become who we ought to be when we get to a place of joyful dependence on him.
Maybe we are afraid of that kind of freedom and direct responsibility. I mean, now who do we blame if things go wrong? Now we have to think things through for ourselves... just us, with God and an open Bible.
Maybe in your case, God has simply not revealed to you yet the possibility of grace. I cannot do that for him. But I can certainly vouch for its power to get us out from under the shadows and walking in the light.
Yes... light. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1Jn 1:5) Walking there is about freedom, purpose, communion and joy. But plan ahead, though... you might want to bring along a pair of sunglasses... even in the "shadow" of the Almighty, things stay pretty bright!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."" (Ps 91:1-2)
(first posted 2.16.2012)
Greg grew up in Menomonee Falls, WI. His ministry began in 1976: 5 years in Central America, 36 in Mexico. Church planting and discipleship have been his passion.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." -Matthew 13:44
Concise devotions in Spanish and English, along with some lengthier essays… Designed for personal spiritual growth and to help anyone studying English or Spanish as a second language to improve their skills… Rev 14:6
To highlight one essential facet of the eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ... Rev 14:6; 2 Cor. 5:18