Faithful Living: Look up for inspiration, assurance

“Even though it’s going to be a busy night,” my husband commented Wednesday evening as he walked in the door from work, “let’s be sure to catch the lunar eclipse tonight. There won’t be another one for years!”

With some anticipation I kept one eye on the moon and the other on a local newscast as I hurried to get dinner fixed and everyone headed in the right direction that evening. Thinking I needed to know more about what I was about to witness, I listened for the local expert to be interviewed — who happened to be a University of Washington professor who has spent his professional career gazing at the sky. To say he was excited to view the eclipse was an understatement and I found his enthusiasm contagious.

“It’s going to be spectacular and you can look at it with the naked eye. Expect a surprising, even a primal reaction, as we rarely in our lifetimes see a red moon!”

Red moon. I pondered that thought, only to be interrupted by another eclipse-related interview — this time with a psychic bookstore employee who cautioned viewers to prepare themselves for the spiritual unrest, the violent red and the unique darkness that might create uncertainty and feelings of void in people’s spirits. She went on to urge viewers to look deep into their souls to discover their own peace until the eclipse was over.

I could not help myself. I began humming the “Outer Limits” theme and emoting around the kitchen. I tried to give her take on the eclipse some respectful consideration until I looked once again outside to see a lovely full moon, rising in an early evening sky. I thought it was rather fun to turn off the outside lights, grab a jacket and flashlight, and every few minutes trek outside to watch the show. The rosy-colored hue looked warm and inviting, so I tossed any suggestion of fear aside and whispered a prayer of thanks to the Lord of the universe. After all, His beauty and glory is so varied. What to some may have been unnerving was to me a gentle reminder that He is mighty and creative, mysterious and eternal, dramatic and definitely in control.

My own view of the heavens was formed long ago when I first began reading the creation accounts in the Bible. To this day when I read those first chapters in Genesis it delights me to be reminded how God created each aspect of our natural world and at the end of each day declared, “And it is good!” His own delight in what He created — ultimately to provide us with a sense of awe and to blanket us with life rhythms and incomparable beauty — was my first great lesson in generosity. God is interactive: He gains joy when we are amazed by our natural world.

I think that is why I feel sorry for Psychic Bookseller. There are enough troubling considerations in this world without us having to create more. Take the British care worker in Iraq who is married to an Iraqi national and has spent the better part of 30 years working for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Today she sits in an undisclosed location, a political prisoner who faces the unbelievable possibility that she may be beheaded. I want to gaze into the heavens and know with personal certainty that the same God who created her moon and mine knows who we are and what may be troubling both of our hearts.

When I was a child I could not see the stars very well because I grew up in a metropolitan community that lighted the night sky. Not only that, but I enjoyed the comforts of a loving home, filled with parents and a brother and an ever-present grandmother and aunt who brought stability to my world. It was only when I grew up, moved to a semi-rural community in Western Washington and began to watch some aspects of my childhood structures fall apart that I began to look deeply into the night sky for comfort.

And it was Sept. 11, 2001, that will always stand out as a moment in time when God’s greatness and stability and strength was declared to me in the heavens. My neighbor Jane and I had been walking early that morning. We had marveled at the amazing clarity and beauty of the stars. We had spotted planets, watched satellites drift across the sky and even caught sight of a falling star. Moments later, as we readied for the day, we found ourselves phoning each other, tearfully watching as the towers fell.

Overhead the moon shone brightly over our part of the world. The stars sprinkled across the peaceful sky and we were reminded that God was there.

And where God lingers, there is no fear.

Freelance writer Joan Bay Klope’s e-mail address is

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