"The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory." (Isaiah 60: 19)
My dear friends,
Don't get excited about the title "Eclipse". I'm not going to write a critique about those popular "Twilight" movies, even though, shhh... I'm team Edward all the way! I'm not going to explore the meaning of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" either.
As we were standing in church this past Sunday during praise and worship, four little words jumped out at me from the screen as we sang, "He loves us". Those would be the obvious words to embrace, right? Being someone who never explores the obvious, I was taken aback by these four words in the lyrics: "Afflictions eclipsed by glory". Those three words have stayed with me ever since. I have literally awakened the last two mornings with that part of the song playing in my head.
As you know, afflictions are the sufferings that we experience in life. They are the things that burden our spirits and threaten to wreck us. They come from the pressure of circumstances that come at us from without. We've all been there. For many of us, that's our address right at this very moment. It's at times like this that we desperately need the God of hope to come and fill us with joy and peace (Rom. 15:13). O God, do it for my friend now.
The word "eclipse" has its origin from the ancient Greek word "ekleipsis", which means, "I cease to exist," or "I am absent." During a total solar eclipse, one heavenly body covers another heavenly body, making the other one barely visible. It dominates; it overshadows if you will. When God eclipses our afflictions with His glory, they become obscure. They are reduced in importance. They are less outstanding or important by comparison. The Glory surpasses the affliction every single time! Using dictionary synonyms, the Glory will beat, better, surpass, exceed, excel, outclass, outdistance, outdo, top, and outshine the afflictions every time.
I pray that you have experienced moments when in the middle of one of the most horrific times of your life, something has happened that you know without a doubt came from God. It was one of those things that knocked your socks off. There was a ray of light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel. It may not or may never, ever, answer the question "Why", but a glimpse of Heaven was given to you at that exact moment and you realized that God has had a plan all along and He used your vessel, your life, and yes, even your great affliction to perfect His plan.
At that moment, even if just for a moment, your affliction was eclipsed by His Glory. It doesn't mean that the affliction wasn't there anymore. It doesn't mean it no longer exists or never happened. It means that for a minute, a moment, maybe longer, it diminished in sight and importance. It was eclipsed by the Glory of Almighty God!
In John 11, Jesus was given the news that His friend Lazarus was very ill. He delayed in going to help and Lazarus died. Before this even happened, Jesus told His disciples that it would all happen "for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." (John 11: 4) Jesus had a plan. He would allow Lazarus to pass away. The sisters would question "why". Just like you and I. But His Father's glory was always Christ's aim. His Father's glory is His aim and goal in your situation as well.
We know the story. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. Was His Father glorified in that, or what? Lazarus had to die for God to show His glory through His Son. Your affliction has a purpose. God doesn't just send trouble to you for no reason at all. I believe that His heart breaks when your heart is breaking and He understands each and every "why" that you pray. But His Glory is at stake. Sometimes other people's lives are at stake. There are things that need to be done and your affliction was the route to the desired end of God.
We need to believe this when we are afflicted, burdened and pressed to our limits by our circumstances. Otherwise we may just break and lose our cotton-pickin' minds. It's not just something to believe that someone made up to make us feel better. It's not psycho-babble to help us deal with our situations. It is the truth as revealed to us in the Word of God. Revealed to us in words straight from the lips of our Savior. He told our friend Martha, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the Glory of God?" (John 11: 40) O, my friends...believe it and you WILL see the Glory of God in your affliction. The Glory will eclipse your affliction every time, even if it's just for a moment. I have fallen on my arthritic knees in worship more than once when I have been witness to this God Glory right in the middle of my afflictions. Right there is where the Glory has become greater in significance, dominated, overshadowed and made my affliction less important by comparison. Glory to God!
In the natural realm, eclipses don't last. They come and go. Kelly and I talked yesterday and voiced the fact that we live more of our lives in the afflictions, in the troubles, and in the valleys, than in those mountaintop, Shekinah Glory, experiences of life on Earth. There is only one place where we will live enveloped in the Glory all the time and that is when we arrive in Glory itself, Heaven. But in the here and now, we can believe that those moments will come when God Himself will arrive and show us something that will so eclipse our affliction that it almost "ceases to exist and is absent" for a moment. Those moments are so worth waiting for. They let us know that our afflictions are not without great purpose. God is working on one of those moments for you right now. Wait for it. Believe for it. If you believe, you will see the Glory of God. Your eclipse is on its way. And if it takes an affliction to be eclipsed by the Glory of God, bring it on. "It's only during an eclipse that the Man in the Moon has a place in the sun." Take your place in the Son.
Living the Word along with you,