The first total solar eclipse to traverse the continental United States since 1918 occurred on August 21, 2017. The rarity of this kind of event lends itself to incredible hype and excitement. Millions of pairs of special glasses were sold so people could safely view this wondrous celestial phenomenon. The total eclipse was only visible in a small swath of the continental U.S. Even so, one source estimated that the economy lost nearly $700 million in productivity due to the large number of workers who left their jobs to observe this event.
An eclipse occurs when one celestial body passes between the sun and another body, thus blocking the sun from that body’s view. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth passes between the sun and the moon. Whether the eclipse is partial or total, the effect is that the view of one body is obstructed. In the areas in which the recent eclipse was total, the sun was fully blocked by the moon. Only a “halo” was visible around the edges of the moon at the most complete point in the eclipse.
All those who wished to view this phenomenon were warned to only do so with protective glasses or by means of a device that projected the image onto another surface. Anyone who failed to obey these warnings ran the risk of permanent eye damage from looking at the sun with the naked eye. Fortunately, most people were wise enough to heed the warnings and take proper precautions to view the eclipse.
As we stand in awe of events such as this, there is a spiritual lesson that may be drawn from it. As believers we are called to keep our eyes on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we go through life. In Heb. 12:1-2 the scripture says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Sometimes, however, our view of the Lord can be eclipsed because we allow something else to get between us and Him. This can happen in many ways. When we allow ourselves to pursue the passing pleasures of sin, we have allowed those desires to eclipse our view of the Lord. When we put work or school or hobbies or friends or family before our devotion to the Lord, we have let these things eclipse Him in our sight. When we fail to give our very best in His service, whatever the reason may be, we have let the Lord be eclipsed in our lives.
In Mt. 6:24 Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” When we consider this statement in conjunction with the admonition to fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2), we see that we must not let Him be eclipsed in any way. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, who went to the cross to pay the debt for our sins. For this reason nothing can be more important to us than our Lord and Savior.
If we allow anything to eclipse the Lord in our lives, we run the risk of permanently damaging our souls. If we face Him this way in judgment, the darkness into which we will be cast is total, terrifying, and eternal. Therefore, let us keep our eyes on Jesus, and let us not allow anything to obstruct our view of the Son.