Total Eclipse of the Heart

by Joanie Butman


Across the nation people flocked to prime viewing areas Monday to witness a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Wouldn’t it be nice if God’s creation got that kind of awe and attention every day? Despite the dichotomy that often exists between science and spirituality, I’ve always felt that studying science is merely discovering HOW God works. Rather than disproving the existence of a Divine Creator, I believe it reveals the precision with which our universe and everything in it is designed. It actually points to a Higher Power. God is in the details of all of His creations, including us.


The path of totality was discussed ad nauseam this week. I never excelled academically, and certainly not in the science arena – except for my third place ribbon for my project on the walnut in second grade. Sadly, that was the pinnacle of my academic career. So what could I possible add to the conversation? Just my own opinion, and you know what people say about those. Even though that may be sage advice, it's never stopped me before. As always, my opinion isn’t based on knowledge per se, but experience – spiritually of course.


All I can say is that when you're in line with your Divine purpose, you are on the path of totality. As a believer, you don’t need special glasses to see the path God has chosen for you “for we live by faith, not by sight.” Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone chart our course for us like they did for weeks preceding last week’s big event? God already has, but He only reveals it one step at a time. When you allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide you “He will make your path straight” and empower you to accomplish the “work which He has prepared in advance for you to do.”

One of my devotionals the morning of the eclipse read: “Stay on the path of life with me.” I don’t need to travel anywhere for a better view. I can choose to observe and experience my own path of totality on a daily basis. I never know what will be revealed from day to day. Spirituality isn’t a brief, once-in-a lifetime event. It’s an ongoing miracle unfolding by the minute.


Any spiritual journey will include partial and total personal eclipses (known as the dark night of the soul), and they are rarely a one-time event. Living in a broken world is all it takes sometimes to darken the brightest day. Over the course of my life there have been many times I’ve felt abandoned, in complete darkness, usually because I’ve strayed far from my path of totality, but not always. God allows ‘growth opportunities’ to darken the lives of the most faithful. The experience can be a time of doubt, suffering, trials, temptations and abandonment – or a combination of all of the above.

Even so, the “Son” is always there waiting to shine His healing light into my soul at precisely the right time. That reality is as predictable as Monday’s eclipse. In the same way the sun and the moon aligned on August 21st, it’s the time I spent in the darkness that drew me closest to His light. I like to think of it as a Divine gravitational pull.


There is an important distinction between a solar and a personal eclipse. Contrary to the endless warnings we received last week, when you find yourself experiencing a total eclipse of the heart, it’s essential to look directly toward the ‘Son’ with nothing to obscure His healing light.

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So why would anyone willingly choose to drift off their path of totality? What can I say - maybe because I’m a self-absorbed idiot?! I don’t think I’m the only one who suffers from this particular malady. Generally speaking, I think our inherent selfish tendencies are the cause of most detours. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something destructive like pride, lust, anger, fear, worry, unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy, control, busyness, regrets, resentments or habits and addictions of all sorts. We can just as easily be thrown off course by good things (even blessings) when we allow them to usurp God as top priority in our life. For example, our spouse, our children, our stuff, our career, our religiosity, or even our service. There's only one wise choice when you find yourself in an eclipse of your own making: total surrender. It’s not until you voluntarily sacrifice the very thing that’s clouding your focus that you can recalibrate to discover your path once again bathed in the warmth of His radiance and love.

Monday afternoon people packed up their belongings and began returning to their lives, knowing they may never see another. Too often we do the same with God. We experience a miracle or a Divine revelation, then pack it away as we resume our daily routines. The wiser choice is to take that transforming experience and weave it into the fabric of your being, letting His light keep you on the unique path of totality He’s chosen for you – especially on those dark days. I pray we travel that path joyfully, never blinded to the awe and beauty of His Majesty, expecting miracles at every turn. Yes, God is surely in the details, and He wants to be involved in the specifics of your life too – but only if you choose to invite Him.

Choose Wisely!