Faith Reflections from Today’s Solar Eclipse

Today, I met my friend Katie at our city park for a picnic lunch with our kids to watch the solar eclipse. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in this phenomenon. I pressed my protective eye wear against my face and looked up at the bright sun.

And there it was. The moon was beginning to cover the sun and it was beautiful. My eyes were focused on the bright orange ring. The darkness began to steadily cover the light within a matter of minutes.

I was amazed that though I couldn’t see this spectacle with my bare eyes, it was still there. God’s creation and glory was clearly on display. His handiwork. His doing. And here I stood as a finite, imperfect being, staring up at the sky observing all this grandeur. I was just a tiny dot on the map. God is the Master-craftsman who formed it all – the heavens and the earth, the skies and the seas, the plants and animals, you and me.

I think about the verse in Hebrews:

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” –  (11:1)

Even though I cannot see God, he is here. Even though I can barely scratch the surface in understanding his beauty, holiness, majesty, and greatness, He is still God. Creator and Father. He holds everything together.

Observing the solar eclipse, among many other people today, gave me greater confidence in my faith. Just because I don’t see God working in the darkness and struggles in my own life or in this world, doesn’t mean he is not doing something. The truth is that he’s always moving. He is not slow to keep his promises.

“Look on the ground!” Katie says.

Circular, light reflections from the eclipse dance on the park’s sidewalk below the swaying trees. We snap pictures with our phones and the kids continue to play. The sky grows a little darker and an eeriness is in the air. The landscape looks “metallic-like.” The breeze brushes against our cheeks.

Our friend Sarah joins in on the fun.

The eclipse is at 98% – almost completely dark from where we stood. Darkness covers the sun, but there is still a speck of light. It certainly was a historical moment.

“I want to be out here with the eclipse forever!” says Katie’s daughter Alaina. We agree tickled by her joy.

Sometimes what we see here on earth is jaded. The lens through which we see is muddled. When we begin to see life through the correct lens and ask God for a greater understanding of who he is, we’ll begin to see the glory and beauty we’ve been longing for. We’ll see that our faith, after all, is solidified and we can trust Him fully for who he says that he is and what he will do in our lives.

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me…” – Isaiah 45:5

Prayer for Matt Chandler

My heart broke today in hearing the news about Matt Chandler’s health via The Village Church blog. Matt has a wonderful ministry partnership and friendship with my work. He just spoke at our conference in November. And just in the last year, I’ve listened to a lot of his podcasts. He’s my favorite pastor (or should I say “podcast preacher.”)

God has used Matt to rekindle a passion in my heart for the gospel and God’s glory. A lot of the writing on this blog has been inspired by a mix of Matt Chandler sermons and God’s word.

I’ve asked God a lot today: Why Matt Chandler? Of all people, why him? And God continues to whisper: This is my calling right now for him to take on brain cancer. I’m sovereign. Will you trust me?

And all I can do is trust.

The hospital where Matt is getting rehab is a block from our apartment and I can see parts of it from my window on the 9th floor. This evening while in my son’s bedroom, I saw the sun setting over the hospital. Bursts of magenta, orange, pink, and navy blue filled the sky.

The sun set reminded me that God is sovereign and is in total control of Matt’s life. And I loved the tweet that Matt wrote today:

Path report is 2ndary at best…good report doesn’t mean much, bad report doesn’t mean anything…my days r numbered and nt by ths report

It is God alone who determines our days. I pray that Matt and his precious family will endure well and experience God’s strength and love in the days ahead.

We love you Matt, Lauren, Audrey, Norah, and Reid.

Who He is- what i’m not

Lately, I’ve been realizing just how much I don’t care to be known in the world. (Don’t worry this won’t be a depressing post.)  Don’t get me wrong– it would be really amazing to be on TV or have my name written across a book (especially because I want to author my own book one day) or to be rich and famous. But I’m guessing that somewhere down the road, I would end up empty. So while I know my flesh desires those things here and there, I can honestly say in my spirit that I just don’t care.

What I do care though is about making Jesus famous. It’s a worn out cliche among the Christian bubble, but what it really means is desiring to reflect who Christ is in all of life. It’s no easy task to figure out exactly who He is, but He’s given us His Word to help guide us.

In the Bible, I see how beautiful, perfect, loving, tender, merciful, gracious, and faithful He is. I see his humility in the way he dealt with people. How he not only healed the sick and the blind, but cut to the core of a person’s heart. I see how he rebuked pompous religious leaders and people in his day who were self-righteous. I see how much pain he endured on the cross to save us. I most importantly see His love for all people and how he met them right where they’re at.

Jesus’ life also wasn’t about making a name for himself, but for his Father. He didn’t manipulate people to get what He wanted. He wasn’t concerned about the affairs of this world, but about doing God’s will. I’m so challenged by his life that sometimes it’s overwhelming. I’m so messed up (most of the time).  I struggle with attitude. I struggle with pride. My thoughts aren’t always pure. I don’t always love people. I often want my way only. All in all, I simply love me. It’s a total tragedy.

But I wasn’t created to make myself glorious. No one stands in front of the Grand Canyon and says, Wow. I’m so beautiful.

I was created to make God glorious.

I think that when we truly grasp what we are not, and what Christ is, that we fall on our knees in humility and wonder why in the world we keep trying so hard. We let him take the reins and work through us. I think that’s what He was getting at when he said:

I am the vine. You are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

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