A Prayer of God’s Splendor

El Shaddai, my Almighty God who has created the heavens and earth and all that are within them, today I find myself reflecting on yesterday’s eclipse. I am utterly in awe of Your sovereignty and power. In Genesis 1:14-15, Your word tells us that You created the sun, moon, and all the stars and put them in their place, and that they would be “for signs and seasons, and for days and years.”

Even though I was unable to see the total eclipse yesterday, the sheer knowledge of all the factors that had to be in place for an eclipse to occur at all is awe-inspiring. You did this, Lord!  You put this universe in motion and the heavens truly do declare Your glory and the sky above proclaim Your handiword, just as Psalm 19 states so well. Somehow, in the midst of a 99% eclipse, the wonder of Your power and plan gripped me. Yet even on a “normal” day, the heavens still proclaim You just as loudly. How I love to look up into the sky for that very reason!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
Psalms 19:1-2

Today, I ask that You will tune my heart and the hearts of my family to hear this heavenly praise and join it. As we think of yesterday’s solara eclipse, remind us of that eclipse so many centuries ago that occured right as Your Son gave up his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Not only that, but we ask You to reveal us of the things we allow to eclipse Your glory in our lives – family, money, career, entertainment – so many things! Forgive us for ever allowing anything at all to come between You and ourselves. Lord, remind us always that our eyes are to be set on Your glory and that our contentment, joy, and peace is found in You alone. Remind us also that even in our darkest hour, Your Light is never extinguished but only hidden for a time. Oh God, let Your Light shine brightly and boldly in us! Make us into blazing beacons for Your glory in this world, in the Name that is above all names, amen.

Psalms 19:7-14
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

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Uneclipsed

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

A mere 40 miles to the north or northeast of my house lies the path of totality for the solar eclipse this coming Monday afternoon. Being a bit of a natural phenomenon junkie, it might seem strange that I am not planning on packing up my crew and hitting the road to get inside that swath of real estate in which I could view the first total eclipse to happen in Tennessee in my lifetime.

But I am not.

While I confess that I would dearly, dearly love to see the sun in total eclipse, I also have a healthy respect for Nashville traffic. I know without a doubt that Nashville will have no shortage of traffic on eclipse day.

Just yesterday, I did have some hearty laughs with my friends who are making the trek. We imagined ourselves all stranded on one of the interstates in a gridlock of cars, the pre-eclipse August sun baking its way into our patience, and her spending more time looking to be certain that her youngest two children’s eyes were properly covered by the protective lenses than actually seeing the big event itself.

We laughed ourselves even sillier as we imagined putting their 6 kids and my 3 to work on a couple of preposterous inventions we came up with to protect the eyes of small children who had not been able to acquire the NASA-approved filtered lenses, hawking them on the sides of packed-out streets and parks in hopes of redeeming the hours lost to traveling north – or even find some way to turn the thing around should we be caught in a traffic jam a mile or two south of the path of totality and miss the thing entirely.

To be fair, I had been up since 4 that morning and they had just returned from a long road trip. But it was certainly funny at the time…. though you probably had to be there.

Anyway, all this eclipse talk and planning got me thinking about God. I admit that I did think of Joel 2:31 (The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes), but even beyond that, my mind strayed to the types of things that eclipse God’s glory in my own life.

Pain. That’s one for sure.

By His grace, I have been able to find purpose, hope, and even joy in the middle of chronic migraine and other assorted physical delights. Yet I have to admit that at times, weeks of relentless pain can seem to cast a pall over all of life, even seeming to grow so large as to hide the radiance of the Almighty in my days.

Then, of course, there is family strife – which is just another type of pain. Difficult circumstances. Riots and wars. Woe.

But not only hardship – sometimes the temptations and comforts of life in America can can loom large and I find myself quite suddenly walking in their shadow instead of walking in the Light.

Yet in each instance, whether trial or ease, I find that His glory has never actually changed. It only seems to be so because for that fateful instant, I have taken my eyes off Him. I have either allowed some promised pleasure or some dreadful difficulty snare my attention and come between me and my King.

How I wish that these spiritual eclipses were as infrequent as the solar variety! Even still, I take heart in knowing that they, too, are really nothing more than natural phenomena – simply a part of the process of sanctification as my Lord patiently allows me to see the transient nature of whatever it is that I have allowed to dominate my mind.

Whether it is pain or pleasure, I am thankful that the shadow always passes, revealing once more the steady and unfading Glory of the Lord.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Psalms 19:1

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