We live out in the countryside. Apart from the occasional goat escaping a field or coyote attacking a neighbor’s chickens, we live a pretty quiet existence. I was reading through an old journal today and came across entries about the eclipse that took place in August of 2017.
The previous week has been peppered with scores of news reports about the approaching total eclipse. Until then, the most recent total eclipse visible in the continental United States was in 1918, when the moon slowly slid herself between the Earth and the sun.
On that day at our location, we had expected the sun to be obscured by approximately 88%. Depending on their location, other folks in our nation would have seen the sun completely covered for nearly two and a half minutes as their landscapes dipped into darkness.
Watching the news that day, people were excited, giddy, and somewhat emotional. Others said that seeing the eclipse was a life-changing event. I started thinking about another life-changing eclipse. I began to ponder how it must have felt like for those observing the crucifixion of Christ.
Scripture indicates that almost two thousand years ago, the world was plunged, mid-day, into darkness for three hours. I would imagine such an experience would have been accompanied by many emotions — fear, dread, awe, wonder.
For many, no doubt, it was also accompanied by a sobering realization of just who Jesus truly was, and what they had just done. This darkness was documented in three of the four gospels and also by historians: Thallus, Phlegon, and Africanus. Something had come between the Earth and the sun, preventing the sunlight from touching the Earth.
Exodus 20:3 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” KJV
When I was a child and considered that verse, I thought as a child, thinking, “I am fine. I have never worshipped a golden calf.” Here God was saying that we are not to put ANYTHING between God and ourselves. We aren’t to idolize anything or anyone. Still, for the longest time, I didn’t look at myself as being idolatrous.
I did not look at that Snicker bar that I ran to self medicate, or submerging myself into reading to escape my life for a while, or gossiping on the phone, or buying the latest gadget as idolatry. But time and time again, I would turn to those gods —gods with a little “g” to comfort and save me. All the while God Himself wanted to be my God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).
I was an idolater. I am an idolater. Each time I turn to other people or things to comfort me instead of turning to God Himself, I am an idolater. Just like with the eclipse, every time I allow something else to come between me and God, I experience my own personal eclipse. Part of my life, part of my existence is plunged into darkness, and I wonder why I can’t hear from God or don’t sense His presence.
While nothing can separate us from the love of God, idolatry can prevent us from feeling its warmth and seeing it’s light. I am not saying that there aren’t times when the Lord is silent on a topic. Of course, there are those times, and they can be completely unrelated to idolatry. I am just saying that many times I have experienced the inability to sense the Lord and His leading, and it was of my own doing, by choosing to put something between myself and Him.
I am not pointing fingers at anyone here other than myself. This is just raw, unflattering honesty about my own dirty laundry. Today I am asking the Lord to reveal to me the idols in my life — the idols that have allowed to come between us that have dimmed my ability to see His light in my world —the idols that fade hues to merely shades of grey, and whose lenses reduce and contort my view of Him. Many I am aware of, and undoubtedly, others I am not.
Beloved, have you lost sight of Him? Has the light of His wisdom and love been obscured by something or someone else? Just like the sun hidden behind the moon, His light has not been extinguished. It has merely been hidden by what has come between us and Him. The light can return when we remove what has gotten in the way.
Father, please reveal our idols. Show us how to put them behind us, so Your light can shine on all of our places that are shadowed in darkness.
Even the darkness hides nothing from You. You see us, but these idols —these eclipsing moons —have not served us well. They keep US from seeing YOU, and from receiving Your comfort. Help us to remove them all by the power of Your Spirit. Father, let there be nothing remaining between us but love! Let there be light! In Jesus’ Name
Written by Julie Souza Bradley Lilly
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Prayers of a Ragamuffin Warrior