How could I have done that?
I can’t believe how stupid that was.
I wanted to help bring the solution, instead I made the problem worse.
What if I am the reason someone else misses the point?
I wanted to help this person get closer to Jesus, what if my mistakes made them turn away from Him instead?
I’m so sorry, Lord.
I am supposed to reflect Your truth and salvation. Instead, I’m afraid I’ve blocked someone else’s view of You.
The moon normally reflects the light of the sun. What happens when the moon gets in the way? When the object meant to showcase the light ends up blocking it out entirely? What happens when the well-meaning believer steps back in fear and guilt, wondering if they have ruined someone else’s chance to see Jesus?
How gracious of God to schedule an eclipse this week. How ever-encouraging He is to us.
Let’s take a look at some eclipse facts:
The moon has no light of its own, it shines only when it reflects the light of the sun. God is gracious enough to let us be reflections of Him, but He is not reliant upon us. He is the sole source of light and life. None of it belongs to us or can be created by us. Sometimes we are tempted to take credit for some of the light we reflect. Maybe that’s because our view is not always in line with His. How dark the moon will appear without the light of the sun. When the two are displayed together, the distinction between them is clear. One is all light. One is all dark. The moon’s glow comes only from the sun. May we view with humbling clarity, the reality of our opposing estates.
“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” ~Mark 10:18
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” ~Romans 7:18
It is an unusual occurrence for the moon to block the view of the sun and it will only last a short time. As followers of Christ, we try to do exactly that: follow Him. It’s true that we will lose step with Him sometimes and make mistakes. Jump His lead. Get distracted and fall behind. Misunderstand His direction. Mess up. Block the view of His light instead of reflecting Him to others.
Though I’m sure we all wish our mistakes were as infrequent as a solar eclipse, let’s consider what happens next. After the moon gets in the way of the sun, will it drop out of the sky? Will it chide itself in guilt to the point of its expulsion from existence? Nope. The normal course of events will recommence. The moon will resume its usual position and continue on. It will reflect the sun again.
The same is revitalizingly true for us. Mistakes happen. More so than that, they are essential to learning. Often, the way we learn best is through trial and error. When we block the light we have sought to reflect, let us not be tempted to drop out of the game. Instead, ask God to forgive us for our misalignment with Him. Trust that His goal is always that we line up with Him correctly again. Talk to Him about what went wrong and ask Him to refine your understanding and approach to representing Him well. Continue on in following Him through His word and in prayer. You will reflect His light again.
“How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
in the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.” ~Psalm 119:9-16
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 1:6
The moon has different levels of reflection. Sometimes the moon reflects a great deal of the sun’s light, sometimes just a sliver. This is normal, predictable even. As we move through our own phases of learning and developing as believers, there will be times when our lives reflect large amounts of the light of the Lord. There will be times when little of His light is visible as well. With every new stage of development, God is not surprised by our varying degrees of reflection. Neither should we be deeply discouraged when we deliver less than we’ve intended, but take heart in the fact that Source will never fizzle. It is our responsibility as believers to stay in constant revolution of reliance upon the Lord for spiritual growth and development, we should expect that our reflection of Him will be varied as we learn from Him. We can take heart in the fact that no matter what the moon is doing, the sun is still the sun.
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” ~Romans 15:4
“And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” ~Philemon 1:6
The moon has no ability to compromise the intensity of the sun. Reports from every news station are urging people to be careful outside during the eclipse. Optometrists fervently warn that eye protection must be worn to view the sky’s performance. Though it may appear that the moon has weakened the strength of the sun by standing in its way, that’s just not how it works. The sun is every bit as powerful as always. God’s power to work in the lives of others, His desire to be seen, and His ability to penetrate their hearts is not compromised when we make mistakes. We have no ability to weaken His intensity. While guilt may try to convince you that you have blocked Him out, made Him invisible where you should have magnified Him, be absolutely assured, dear friend: you are no match for God. You can not get in His way. His sovereignty can not be diffused.
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.” ~1 Chronicles 29:11
“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” ~Job 42:2
Thank you that you are in control. Thank you for the light and life that you offer me. Thank you that you allow, encourage, and equip me to share this with others even though I make mistakes. Some of these mistakes weigh heavily on my heart, Lord. I do not want to stand in the way of anyone else’s view of you. Please forgive me for when I have done so. Thank you that you remain the same even when I don’t reflect you accurately. You are sufficient in my deficiency. Even as I stumble, you call me closer still, extending to me that same forgiveness and love that I have wanted to share with others. Please help me learn and try again. It is my desire to magnify you in my life that others may know you too. Amen.