Thursday, April 11, 2024


Like millions of others, I watched the total solar eclipse this week. My town happened to fall in the path of totality, with my little neck of the woods nestled in the direct path of totality, giving me a little over four solid minutes of midday darkness. 

To properly, and safely, view a solar eclipse, one must acquire a set of specially-made sunglasses, which are infinitely darker than regular sunglasses. These allow you to look directly at the sun without damaging your eyes. (There are other ways to view the eclipse, as well - pinhole viewers, welding shields, etc. - but this illustration depends upon the super-dark sunglasses, which were the overwhelmingly most popular choice. Probably because they were free most places.) 

It was actually really cool. With the glasses on, you can't see anything EXCEPT the sun. They are so dark, they block out literally every other speck of light except for the sun itself. So you can watch as the moon starts to block out the sun little by little, and it's very cool. 

And then, as the moon moves fully into place, your glasses go dark again. BAM. Just like that. All light is gone. That last little sliver is covered, and there's nothing but total darkness. At that point, it's safe to take your glasses off and look straight at the sun.

I highly recommend that you do. 

It was breathtaking. 

From total darkness behind these glasses to one of the most incredible sights I've ever seen in the heavens. Okay, the most incredible sight I've ever seen. The moon is totally in front of the sun, and the sun glows in this bright white ring around it. The stars and planets come out. The beautiful colors that normally indicate sunrise in the east and sunset in the west are all around you in 360-degree coverage, this beautiful orange just hovering near the horizon all around. It takes your breath away, and it is impossible not to be in awe. 

In my backyard, a mile away from the nearest gathering, I could hear the crowds gasping in awe. It's a powerful experience. 

And I have been thinking how much a reflection of faith this experience is. 

So many persons spend so much of their lives looking through dark glasses. Jaded by their experiences of this broken world. Clinging to whatever light they can through the dimness that seems to block their view. It's depression, yes, but it's also sometimes just a natural reaction to living in a fallen world. If you're looking through a dark lens, the light just always seems to be slipping away. Until...there is none at all. Gone. Finito.  Finished. 

This is the moment of despair. This is the time when defeat sets in. This is when we start to believe there's nothing going on in this world but darkness, and it's time for us to quit. To stop trying. In tragic cases, to stop living. 

But take those dark glasses off, my friend, and look at what the heavens are doing. Look at the way that the light you thought was gone bursts out from behind the darkness. Look at the beautiful colors clinging to the horizon all around. Look at the way the stars are dancing, right in the middle of the day. See the other planets start to show up. 

You are not alone. The heavens declare the glory of God, God who created the heavens in their stunning beauty and created you, too. Because He loves you. 

And the darkness is never as dark as it seems. 

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