My husband and I witnessed the total eclipse of the sun last Monday, August 21—a day foretold by scientists with precision. I’m not really into science and wasn’t sure what all the buzz was about, but since we were in the path of totality we took off to a state park.
Officials gave eclipse seekers specific instructions:
- Do not look directly at the sun without the special glasses.
- Make sure the solar glasses were approved.
- Don’t drive with the glasses. (Really?)
- Don’t stop on the freeways to watch the eclipse.
- Don’t stop on the shoulder of the freeways to watch the eclipse.
Hundreds of thousand jammed the city and the surrounding areas, stopping on roadsides, filling state parks, holding solar eclipse work parties, gathering with families, and celebrating in schools. All wore the all-important solar eclipse glasses.
As the moon obscured more and more of the sun it seemed as if someone was manning the heavenly light on a cosmic dimmer switch. Then it happened. 1:30 in the afternoon. Total darkness interrupted the light for a little over two minutes. With all faces pointed upward, we took off the glasses and marveled at the sight. The crowd applauded. Others ooed and aahed. One young man proposed.
Thoughts of scripture came to mind:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Psalms 19:1
Yet, later this anomaly of nature made me wonder. When did we start applauding darkness? Who proposes to their sweetheart in the dark on a Monday afternoon with 500 other people in attendance? Who applauds darkness in daylight or at all?
I believe the reason we applauded this darkness is because we knew the sun was still there and would shine again. All believed that this anomaly was just that–an anomaly. We knew this moment was fleeting. We believed the reports from scientists and meteorologists that the moon would continue to sweep across the sun and the sun would re-appear.
If only we could believe this for our lives. When the darkness hovers like a thick blanket, we could believe the Son is still there. That Jesus is still the Light of the world. That He is greater than the darkness. The scriptures tell us so:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5 (ESV)
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)
When all we see in our world is darkness, it’s hard to remember Jesus is still ruling and present. It may not seem like it. It may not feel like it. It may not look like it. But that doesn’t make it any less true.