With the pest control service at work scheduled for first thing this morning, page 233 began even earlier than usual. It was still very dark as I drove into work and I couldn’t help but notice how much later the sun is coming up as we’ve progressed through summer. I’ve looked at times and it seems to be only a few minutes difference each day, but add up enough of those minutes over the course of a month and it seems like all of a sudden the unnoticeable difference is very noticeable. That same principle is true in much of our life. Small steps taken faithfully every day will add up to be a great journey of faith. Unfortunately, small lapses in our conduct also add up more quickly than we realize until we find ourselves in a huge mess and can’t figure out how we got here. The way out of our life’s mess isn’t that complicated, but it’s not that easy either; we grasp tightly to the hand of God which has hold of us, and we step forward with Him each day until the life of mess we could never climb out of is far behind us. But here’s an important truth — don’t let go of the hand that walked you out of your mess and don’t quit taking the steps forward; the path back to where you don’t want to be is not that far away but the path forward is the one to stay focused on.
As the pest control tech did his thing through the building I went about my morning routine of praying, cleaning, and building prep for the day. By the time the school day began, I was ready to settle in with God to write the next prayer guide. One of the verses in my daily reading from Psalms talked about being downcast — a condition far more common than most like to talk about or admit. As I thought about that verse, and that feeling, the idea of a prayer guide focused on overcoming despair came to mind. My initial search found no us of the word despair but I’m not sure what translation I was searching because I know verses that use it. But rather than figure out why my search came up empty, I focused on the word downcast and, more importantly, on how God would lift us up from those feelings and set our feet on solid ground.
By early afternoon it had already been a long day so I headed home to fix some lunch and see what I could come up with to observe and photograph the eclipse. I set up one camera on a time-lapse setting that would shot a frame every ten seconds and merge them into a video. While it produced an interesting video of the sun appearing to fly through a steady stream of light cloud cover, the brightness of the sun just made it appear as the sun with no visible eclipse taking place. With some filters and a longer range lens on another camera; I was, however, able to see and photograph the eclipse as it appeared in South Bend, Indiana. We weren’t in the path of the total eclipse, so I didn’t end up with any of the cool “rings of fire” around the moon shots, but I was satisfied with my attempts at capturing what I could see. Today’s photo is one of those photos as the moon worked its way across the path of the sun in a sky filled with a light cloud cover. I found it interesting because if you didn’t know what was happening and what the photo is, it appears much like a night shot of a crescent moon.
I watched and photographed the eclipse until just past its peak, then headed inside to finish lunch and go through the photos I had taken. We finished out the day with a family trip to The Chief for ice cream and a stop at Sam’s Club for groceries.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Things which seem small can make a huge difference over a shorter time period than most realize.
- The secret to progress isn’t found in how large your steps are, but that you keep stepping forward.
- Many problems that we face are not problems that we’ve fallen into, but rather problems that we’ve crawled into.
- Getting out of our self-created problems will more often require small steps rather than giant leaps.
- God’s desire is to lift us out of our despair and set us on higher ground but we must be willing to take hold of the Hand that is holding onto us and accept the help that He provides.
- While people talk of the day becoming night, every photo I’ve seen of the total eclipse still shows light shining around the darkness of the moon. The dark may diminish our ability to see the light, but it cannot extinguish it.
- If you’ve ever “danced in the light of the moon”, you have the sun to thank for being able to do that.
- While Jesus calls His followers the “light of the world”, the only ability we have to light our world is when the Son is reflected through us.
- It’s almost impossible to go wrong when you finish a day with ice cream. 🙂