The Shadow Knows!

But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, (1 Corinthians 2:7 WEB)

Although radio dramas were popular before my time I’ve heard about them and the fun of gathering around the wireless to listen to the serial adventures of some super hero or master detective. When my children were little there were a number of Christian radio programs still on the air. I enjoyed the stories and listening to them with my children. There is a sense of excitement when you use your imagination to put the sounds, voices, and story into a mental picture. This gave way to more television and eventually the draw of computer games.

One of the characters I heard about on the old radio serials was the Shadow. In later years there was a movie to emblazon this odd crime fighter’s exploits across the big screen. I must admit I enjoyed the movie. One of the famous quotes went something like, “Who knows what lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows!” That’s a great tag line.

It’s nice to have a great tag line and be seen as a crime-fighting hero. This isn’t something I’ve had the opportunity to develop in my life. I’m not much of a sleuth outside of sifting through computer problems or transmitter failures. But an encouraging card I received from a colleague surprised me. He was congratulating me on my birthday when he wrote, “Often I am sure you are more perceived as a shadow rather than being present until something goes wrong and we suddenly realize how much you are part of a very essential reality!” (Emphasis mine)

2010_03_16_Office 008Cool! I just might be a crime-fighting hero after all. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a superhero character. What’s it like to always be ready when there’s a need? You never know where I’ll show up. I’d have secret abilities, which only appear when needed and just in the nick of time. Way cool!

My colleague was talking about working in IT and keeping things moving so smooth they only realize I’m working when something breaks. That’s a compliment, I think. Maybe I should wear a big hat, trench coat and scarf across my face to hide my identity. I could be lurking in the myriad bits and pieces of computer technology. Just when you think it’s time to reboot I can jump out, fix the problem, and then disappear into the shadows of your office.

Working with IT is sort of like working in the shadows without the nefarious connotations. If I do my job right then no one should know that anything has changed or, even better, was broken and then fixed. Most folks haven’t a clue what I did to fix something after I came and resolved an issue. They’re just glad it worked again. In the IT department we do a lot of work in the background keeping things secure, up to date, and making necessary adjustments to keep up with the relentless forward march in the technological world and continuous barrage of attacks from the outside world.

All of this is done to bring a message of Hope to the world. It’s a message from God’s heart to his creation. When I think of the frustration computers can bring, I’m amazed that God allowed us to discover how to make and use these electronic marvels. But he always knows what we need to accomplish our calling. It’s just a set of tools and I’m called to keep them working in proper order. When we fly we usually think about the pilot and not the ground crew who work in the shadows to insure the plane is safe. When we boot our computer and send email we think of the message, not those who keep the servers, network lines and software running so the message reaches the recipient.

Sometimes it’s nice to be a shadow, mysterious, effective, only a glimpse out of the corner of someone’s eye. That’s when I get things in order; out of sight in preparation. As a Christian I try to allow God to use me for reaching others by just being faithful. If I pay attention to what I do before I talk with someone then I become more effective than ever. Perhaps we need to stop for a moment while we’re in the shadows and make sure we’re walking faithfully with God, make sure things are in order. Then when we’re on display it won’t be much different than when we were invisible because we’re walking the same faithful walk.

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