“A sense of deep awe was occurring to every soul, and many wonders and miracles were taking place through the apostles.” Acts 2:43
In August of 2017, a total solar eclipse cast its shadow across America. We were living in the totality of its path and my youngest son and his girlfriend came all the way from New York to see it.
After he arrived, I told my son that the weather looked cloudy for that day and especially in the early afternoon, during the eclipse. Maybe even a thunderstorm was in the mix.
The night before the big day, my son was looking at a map on the internet that showed the ambient lighting situation, or what is known as “stray light” from things like street lamps. He wanted to view the solar eclipse from a place where the nighttime street lights would cause the least amount of occlusion. His explanation was that the street lights come on automatically when it suddenly got dark.
I just looked at him when he told me this and thought to myself, “People from big cities are so all about all the wrong things.”
I didn’t mention that to him at the time. What I did tell him though were the facts: “The weather is going to be cloudy, but not really overcast. So, we will need to search out a good spot where the sun is peaking through the clouds at the time of the eclipse. If you stick with me, I will find us such a spot, no problem.”
If any breaks occurred in clouds at all the next day, I was confident that I would find a good cloud-dodging locale to view the eclipse.
This information had little effect on my son. He decided that a nearby small-town with minimal street lamps was the ideal location. Well, he is my Son and I his Father, and well, you know, why should he be starting to take my advice now?
The day dawned cloudy, as predicted. As I was out doing my job, I kept an eye on the sky and noticed a lot of breaks in the clouds. My son and his girlfriend had taken off early to go to the nearby town. Oh, well.
The partial eclipse had started along with the excitement that comes with such an event. I stood outside and scouted out the sky above, looking for good, solid breaks in the cloud cover. No problem, there was a good one a couple of miles down the road, in the country. No street lights are found in the country.
I jumped in the truck and drove there as the sun became a took on a crescent shape and began to disappear in that distinctive way it does when the moon is moving in front of it.
I hopped in my truck and drove to the perfect place on a country dirt road where the clouds were well parted and set up my tripod and camera.
It was a bit hazy between me and the sun, but that only seem to enhance the experience.
Well, I must say, I’d never seen a total eclipse before and words cannot do it justice. It was wonderful and fearful and everything everybody said and so much more.
I started snapping pictures while looking through my protective glasses, but it wasn’t long until all that I could do was stare at the dazzling bright ball that was slowly turning dark.
And then there it was, a total eclipse; and the day went to night and there was that eerie corona in the sky encircling what was left of the sun and all this dancing light next to dark clouds.
I snapped a few more pictures of the totality, but looking at it was piercing me through my heart. I was struck with awe and wonder. And just like most miracles, not long after it had begun, it was over, just like that.
We did get a little special end treatment though. Because the shadow’s passing caused a temperature differential, the clouds formed up quickly in the eclipse’s passing shadow and started a thunderstorm. It swept past with lightning and loud thunder, not like any thunderstorm I’d never seen before.
As I was talking to my son later, yes, he did experience the eclipse, but his position was pretty cloudy. I’d call it more of a “normal” experience. He did express a sentiment of awe and wonder, even in cloudy conditions.
But it was more obligatory than blow-you-away.
The point being that one can lose that sense of God’s awe and wonder if you are pursuing the wrong things. Is the living God just an obligatory entity that needs a little attention now and then? Or is everyday filled with a sense of anticipation? Not knowing exactly when He is going to perform miracles in lives?