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Eclipse of the Son

September 18, 2017

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6).

A large swath of the country recently viewed a complete eclipse of the sun. It reminded me how we sometimes feel about God. We sense that his Son has been eclipsed by other things in our lives–hobbies, activities, television, social media, parties, sports —things that gobble up our time. Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, confusion, loneliness, and helplessness can also cause a full eclipse of the Son. We prioritize activities and let our emotions take priority over the time we spend in prayer, worship and mediation. And we wonder why we feel so empty. God seems to elude us, sometimes temporarily, sometimes for a very long time.

But God isn’t hiding from you. It is more likely that you have not sought him out lately and spent time with him–that you are hiding behind a calendar full of activities or emotions.  Isaiah tells us that if that if we seek the Lord, he will be found, that he is near to us. “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55: 6).[1] Spend time with him. Ask him to send his Spirit to fill you, to envelope you with his love and assurance.

David confirms that when we seek him, he will be there with us and will keep us safe: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27: 4-5).   David assures us that when we asked to be ushered into his presence, he will transport us to his house, open the door, and hide us in his house where we will be safe.

Using almost the same sequence of events (ask, seek, find or keep) Jesus promised that all who seek him will find him and the door will be opened; we will find shelter in his house: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7: 7-8).

When you sincerely ask God to enter your life, and seek his presence with an open heart, you will find the Spirit of the Son within you. You will experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Jeremiah emphasizes that we need to seek him with our whole being, with our whole heart: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).  God doesn’t want our half-hearted, lukewarm, milk toast, tepid, cursory looks.  He wants our full attention, our full commitment.

All of us feel at one time or another that God is hiding from us–that he has been eclipsed by other things. But Paul assures us that even when we don’t sense his presence he is using us: “What happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).  We aren’t always aware that he is using us. Sometimes just being in a particular place at a particular time is part of his plan—a piece of the puzzle that will ultimately play a part in his plan for salvation.

Jesus promised that all who seek God will be ushered into his presence, whether you are a life-long Christian, or were just baptized last week: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20: 16).  Is that fair?  Consider this. Those who have been laboring their whole lives in service to God have received many spiritual benefits from that relationship throughout their lives. They have received the comfort and assurance that only God can bring through good times and bad.  Those who just joined the family have not had those benefits. Yet, God promises them the same heavenly reward, where they will finally rest in his arms.

Some years ago, I saw a friend at the market who had been recently diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. She was in the throes of chemotherapy, and was understandably afraid for herself, her husband, and their three teenagers.  I knew that she was a believer, but her fear fueled a terrible bitterness and anger, clearly eclipsing the Son.  She was in a very dark place.  Several months later, when she was dying, and spending more time in prayer, she spoke of how she sometimes felt as if she was resting in Jesus’ arms.  She described how lovely and wonderful it felt.  She was looking forward to resting in his arms forever.  And isn’t that where we all want to be at the end of our lives–resting in the everlasting arms?

When you join the family of God, you enter into a relationship with God. You build on that relationship by spending time with him, just as you maintain your relationships with your earthly family and friends.  He wants more from you than an hour on Christmas and Easter.  Seek him today with all of your heart, and bask in his love and friendship.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost are Isaiah 55: 6-9 Psalm 27: 1-9; Philippians 1: 12-14, 19-30; Matthew 20: 1-16.

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