Dr. Jessica Johnson: Reminder of God’s handiwork

As excitement was building up for the solar eclipse in Ohio the past two weeks, I saw an electric sign that piqued my interest while commuting to work in Lima. The sign was placed on a corner in Huntsville, a village that I pass through with a small population of just over 400.

It was from a local church and read, “God in the eclipse,” with an invitation to attend the anticipated viewing that took place April 8. I later came across an article in “Crisis Magazine” with the same theme titled “Seeing God in the Eclipse,” written by Eric Sammons. This sentiment was also reflected by many on social media, as there were tweets and posts about the majesty of God that had everyone who saw this celestial event live in amazement.

I decided to watch the eclipse on the news, and although this couldn’t do it justice from seeing it outside in real time, I was still pretty much speechless. I marvel at God’s everyday decorations of fluffy, white cumulus cloud clusters that adorn the sky, and I’m always in awe of how massive storm clouds eventually separate to provide an opening of what I like to call a window view into heaven.

So, seeing the eclipse for me magnified what Psalm 19:1 says about the “heavens (declaring) the glory of God.” Sammons mentioned Romans 1:20 in his article, which says, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

Another scripture that professes God’s infinite knowledge in displaying and designing His creation is Hebrews 11:3. The Amplified version states, “By faith (that is, with an inherent trust and enduring confidence in the power, wisdom and goodness of God) we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created (formed, put in order and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”

Leading up to the eclipse there were many articles that provided the scientific explanation of the moon passing between the sun and Earth and then completely blocking the sun. Others, like Sammons’ piece, encouraged viewers to take in the grandeur of God as thousands showed up and journeyed to parts of the 15 states where the eclipse traveled.

The photos of the gatherings to see this mesmerizing occurrence beautifully chronicled how it brought together people from all walks of life. People camped out at parks hosting watch parties, reclining in lawn chairs or spreading out blankets on the ground. Elementary school kids got one of the coolest live science lessons ever. Some people watched from football and baseball stadiums, and some folks got married.

One thing was constant in the photos that I saw: There were overwhelming expressions of joy and astonishment. So many wonderful smiles were extended along that 115-mile-wide-path of totality.

Taking in the splendor of God brings much delight, and many in the crowds, as a San Francisco Chronicle article pointed out, were also looking for a “spiritual experience.”

Reading this caused me to reflect on how the Bible tells of the multitudes who trekked to see Jesus hoping to view or receive a miracle of healing or deliverance. Of the millions who tuned in for the eclipse, I’m sure many who had this spiritual desire had a similar zeal to Zacchaeus, the tax collector who ran before the Jericho press following Christ and climbed up a sycamore tree to see Him. I believe those specifically looking for God in the eclipse wanted to encounter something that reassured them that the Creator is still sovereign over the universe and continues to perform matchless wonders.

I’ve continued to watch replays of the livestreams of the eclipse, just pondering on how the natural world operates the divine way God intended. Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to describe the cosmic magnificence we just beheld, so all we can do is bask in the brilliance of the Lord’s handiwork.

Dr. Jessica A. Johnson is a lecturer in the English department at The Ohio State University-Lima. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @JjSmojc. Her opinion does not necessarily represent the views of The Lima News or its owner, AIM Media.