This last Monday, I put a strange, very time-specific item on our Staff Meeting Agenda. It read like this:
10:15 am Eclipse
I had read that the eclipse could be best viewed at 10:15 am if you were in San Jose, and so at the appointed time, the whole staff walked outside, with our special pinhole paper cups that Janessa made. So, we were all outside, 10:15 came around, Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Didn't see it. Even when I glanced quickly with my normal sunglasses.
Two problems: one is that none of us had eclipse glasses (essentially super-dark sunglasses that blotted everything out except the bright sun) and we didn't know how to use the equipment we did have. Eventually we worked it out and saw the crescent of the eclipse filtered through the pinhole and shining on the concrete outside. But this was very different than what I expected. I thought that even though it would only be an 80% eclipse from San Jose, that it would get darker. As far as I could tell, it didn't.
Essentially, wrong equipment, and not being in the right place (Oregon) made for a disappointing eclipse experience.
This made me think of a Bible story, where someone else was not able to see the reality of what was really going on. It's found in 2 Kings chapter 6. The prophet Elisha and his servant are trapped in the city of Dothan which has been sieged by the Arameans:
13 "Go, find out where he is," the king ordered, "so I can send men and capture him." The report came back: "He is in Dothan." 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?" the servant asked.
16 "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Now, on the surface, this is patently untrue. They are in a city, and surrounded by the whole Aramean army, clearly outnumbered. What does Elisha know and see that his servant doesn't? The story continues...
17 And Elisha prayed, "Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Elisha had a depth of spiritual perception that until he prayed, was unavailable to his servant. When he saw as Elisha saw, when he perceived the angelic army, his fear was gone.
I wonder how many times in life we are in the wrong place (out of God's will) with the wrong equipment (eyes that only see the physical circumstances and not the underlying spiritual reality). How different would life look if we were in the right place, the center of God's will, with the right equipment, "eyes to see" the spiritual realities, that God is for us and not against us, that angelic armies surround us, that he will never leave us and forsake us. What difference would that make to how we see the obstacles in front of us?
So, some questions for self-examination:
- am I where I should be, in God's will? Is there any part of my life that is straying?
- do I have the right equipment? Am I reading my Bible and praying so that I can soak myself in God's perspective and spiritual truth?
These two things can make all the difference in the world as we discover that our problems are eclipsed (!) by God's love and care for us.