Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork."
The Bible tells us many stories of God stepping into the world in majesty and power -- stories of a flood, a day the sun stood still during a battle, a time the rains did not come because a man prayed, blind men who were given sight, dead who were raised to life, and so many more. However, we do not experience such miraculous deeds often in today's world. This is not inconsistent with Scripture, as there were times in the Bible when supernatural miracles were abundant and other times when God seemed silent. There were also times when God's people were looking for one thing, but He did something altogether different. Nevertheless, throughout the ages we can see God consistently in two places: His Word and His world. Often we misunderstand both, but the Scriptures are clear and help us to interpret what we see in the world around us.
Last Monday I, along with many students and parents, witnessed a small instance of God's creation glorifying its creator. This experience was an amazing gift. Indeed, the heavens declare the glory of God! Since then I have watched many videos of the event, and in each one onlookers display an authentic excitement and childlike amazement. There was a moment in each video when people were so caught up in the experience that they forgot to be cool or hip. When people ask me what it was like to watch the eclipse in person, I realize that I am completely unable to explain. I searched for a picture that accurately captures what I saw but finally gave up in frustration. The best pictures cameras can produce seem like crude watercolor paintings when compared to what the sky was like that day. How can I describe my emotions when, despite all my preparations for and research of the event, I experienced something I was absolutely not expecting? I felt like a young child giddy with excitement. The collision of beauty, design, splendor, and layer upon layer of mystery caused me to have a deep realization of the power required to create something so magnificent.
To see pictures of the eclipse is like stepping into a kitchen and becoming aware of the aroma of incredible food. The smell is one layer of experience. But when you actually taste something so fantastic that ordinary food does not seem like real food anymore, the experience takes on a new depth. Prior to Monday, I studied eclipses and what would occur. Science taught me many great things about distance and size, heat and cold, light and waves. All of this was interesting, and it still is. However, if I had to choose between learning everything about it or experiencing it first-hand, there would be no competition! I would want the experience.
This difference of experience instead of head knowledge is something we long to help our children discover. Teaching and instruction are vital and set the stage for deep awe and wonder, much like collecting wood prepares for a bonfire. However, pictures, books, seminars, projects, and the like will not compare with the glory and joy of actually walking by faith with God and seeing Him show up faithfully in love and splendor according to His promises. Throngs of people devoted much time and effort to seeing a shadow of the glory of God in the eclipse. Having experienced it myself, I now understand why. But it makes me wonder what would happen if we truly experienced the one who made the eclipse. What would that kind of devotion look like in our hearts, and what would it produce in our lives? I think that fruit would change the world!