Yesterday was the day, the day of the big Solar Eclipse. Many people traveled great distances to get a better view of the event, to see it in “totality.” I was not one of those people. While I remember the last big solar eclipse in the 70’s and I remember making a pin hole box, and also making viewing glasses our of 35mm film my schedule did not allow me to see the big event this year.
I was in the air, flying under the totality of the eclipse as it happened. I got a window seat, and I am an aisle man, just so I might be able to take a photo of the big event. I took lots of “blind” photos as I held the camera at a low angle at the base of the window and attempted to capture the big event. Let’s just say, been there done that, don’t need to try that again in 2099. All this did was take up a little more room on my memory card, to clear off later.
The woman sitting with me, in the coveted aisle seat, would from time to time glance up from her book and glance toward the window. I couldn’t quite figure out if she was more interested in what the oddball next to her was doing or if she wanted to witness what she could of the eclipse. Finally, after about my 50th attempt to get something with my camera, she said, “I don’t get it, what is the big deal? It’s just an eclipse.” I replied, “I think it is just the rarity of the event that has people excited. I pray I don’t see the next one in 2099.”
That seemed to satisfy her question and she went back to her book, for a few moments. I quietly sat in my window seat and continued to point my camera at something I could not see. I’m guessing it just took a while to register with her, but after a few moments she turned and said, “Why don’t you want to see it in 2099?” I told her I hoped to be with Jesus LONG before that. Suddenly the conversation I had early that morning with my wife came to mind, as we marveled at the wonder of the eclipse, and the amazing God who put this whole thing in motion.
I put down my camera and said, “I think it is the unbelievable clockwork of the universe that makes people want to see this event?” She was puzzled by this statement and gave me a “what are you talking about” look. So I continued, “Doesn’t it amaze you that God, who I know put all this together did it with such precision that can predict it down to the minute? Not just for this eclipse but for the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that. So many people think that this whole universe is just a random shot in the dark from some mysterious big bang, but chaos does not produce such precision, a brilliant designer causes this precision.”
It was back, that “What are you talking about” look. This time it came with a response, “Never given it much thought.” “That,” I said, “Is why the solar eclipse is such a big deal it displays the genius of our God. The Bible even tells us that the skies proclaim the work of God. My favorite verse says of the stars that “night after night they pour forth speech and are not silent. Just a little more proof that God is real and active in His creation. Are you a Christian?” Her response was quick and dismissive, “I was as a child – my parent’s idea not mine.” and she planted her face back in her book to close this conversation.
She didn’t know that I’ve taught confirmation to middle schoolers for 30+ years and it will take more than looking away to stop me from talking, I was on a roll. But before I could say something that might make her wish she had chosen a different seat, I simply said. “I’ll pray that you come to know Christ again.”
Then there was silence.
When we got up to get off the plane she noticed for the first time my t-shirt which on the front reads “God Loves you, but I’m his favorite*” She smiled and said, “I bet you are.” I mentioned that my wife would be upset if you don’t read the back of the shirt (long story for another day) so I offered her a chance. It reads “*Your His favorite too!” followed by Jeremiah 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
I hope I left her today “Pondering God.”
What’s the Big deal? It’s just an Eclipse – or as I like to call it “God showing off!”
Something to Ponder: How does God reveal Himself to you through His creation?
Share your Eclipse experience and thoughts in the comments below.