In a spontaneous moment a few Saturdays ago, Randy and I hitched up the camper, threw in leftovers from the fridge, a day’s worth of clothes, my camera, our sweet dog Sam and we headed to Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky. We arrived about 5:30 and sweet friends joined us at about 9:30. The full objective of the trip was to see the moon bow. There seems to be some dispute on where this can actually be seen, but Cumberland Falls claims to be able to predict the best times to see it and so we were squealing in on two wheels for the last night of projected viewing last month.
The moon was nearly full on Saturday night. The cloud cover of the afternoon gave way to a clear, chilly evening. The stars in the sky were brilliant … the moon light could be seen before it actually topped the ridge of the mountain. There were a couple of hundred people gathered at the falls in hopes of catching a glimpse of the phenomenon created by the indirect light from the Sun, via Sun-moon-moon bow.
I hadn’t done a lot of research on the finer details of moon bow gazing thinking there would be plenty of people gathered with cameras to tip us off. However, when we arrived there were people gathered in three distinct areas … right next to the waterfall, down at the base of the waterfall and on an overlook with a really great view of the waterfall. Because the waterfall location was extremely full, we ventured on to the upper overlook. After about an hour of watching, leaning, returning to the truck for blankets, three of the four of us falling asleep at one point or another as well as finding the right “long exposure” setting for my camera, a kind soul wandered up to me and said … if you go back to the waterfall, the moon bow can be seen there. Thank goodness for someone who redirected our path knowing there was only one way we were going to see the moon bow.
So, we gathered out chairs, blankets, camera and traveled back up the rocks beside the waterfall. And there it was … just the way she said it would be! A grayish/white moon bow, obvious to the naked eye. And that was really amazing! But to see the colors come to life, one had to look through what they perceived with the naked eye with help of a camera lens and a long exposure shot. When looking through the right lens, at the right angle, with the right settings … the beauty of a rainbow of colors was fully exposed.
While studying the book of Revelation this year, I’ve come to realize over time as I have tried to look at multiple aspects of that book … it’s the picture of the promise fulfilled that has overwhelmed me. This isn’t my first rodeo with the book of Revelation. Like many, I have looked at the trumpets, bowls, scrolls, marriage supper of the Lamb and the Thousand Year reign and tried to form my own storyline of how the end will play out. And the notion that I can write the end of the story with my limited scope of knowledge and wisdom is at best, foolishness. I’ve come to rest in the truth that what I can know, is what the Father has allowed me to see. And outside of that resides a battery of choices. I can walk in fear, pride, depression, denial, regret, shame, arrogance … the list is long. Or I can worship the One who knows has already written the completed text.
In times of difficulty, worship is that lens that draws into focus that which I can not see with my human eyes. Worship doesn’t change what I see. I still see sick loved ones, financial difficulties, relationship issues around me, friends who have wandered into deep pits of sin and many that I love who don’t know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior trapped in a haze. There are still social issues that make me cry out in fear for our world, our nation, our community and for future generations! But when I look at those things through a moment framed by worship … the gray haze of circumstances is exposed as a part of God’s brilliant, covenant plan.
Revelation 4: 1-7
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
And so I face every circumstance with worship because He is my God … and I am his child.
When I fear what’s to come for my dear friend with cancer, I sing on his behalf … “I believe You’re my Healer, I believe You are all I need. I believe You’re my portion, I believe You’re more than enough for me. “
When life circumstances feel overwhelming, I remember hearing the words to Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham several years ago … “read the Word and put to test the things you’ve heard until heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken.”
When disappointments and discontent seem to threaten in relationships and financial struggles I hear Trust in You by Lauren Daigle… “Truth is You know what tomorrow brings … there’s not a day ahead you have not seen … so in all things be my life and breath … I want what you want Lord and nothing less … “
When I need the Light of His Love to shine through to those around me I cry out 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, ooh my soul, worship His Holy Name, sing like never before, oh my soul … and on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come … still my soul will sing your praise unending … 10,000 years and then forevermore!”
When the political climate and the social debates become overwhelming I sing Sovereign by Chris Tomlin … “In your never failing love, you work everything for good, God whatever comes my way I will trust You …Sovereign in my greatest joy, sovereign in my greatest cry … all my hopes, all my dreams … held in Your hands …”
And when I don’t know what to sing … “When peace like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrow like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is Well, It is Well, with my soul.“