Last Tuesday was the full moon for the month. The moon rose at 8:54 pm. Thanks to our Circle of Eight, we stood ready to greet it on the southern end of Deerfield Beach. Do you know the fictional story of the explorer who got caught by cannibals, and reading through his journal, he found that the next night would be a lunar eclipse, so he pretended to be a god, or an angel, and “made the moon
disappear?” I felt somewhat like that. I felt that I had some secret knowledge like that (but it was actually my friend, Pat, that did). We stood, particularly in the last couple of minutes, with eager expectation for the vast ocean to lob some celestial body up into the sky. I know, that sounds less than romantic. It really was a lovely moment, a moment of beauty and delight as the light of the moon, first faint, then quite red, began to light the evening sky.
So, it turns out that you can type in “moonrise times” on your phone, and any number of websites will tell you when this wonderful phenomena will happen. I have an app on my phone that tells you what star you have your phone trained on. It identifies stars, and even man-made objects like the Hubble telescope and the Space Station. And of course, the moon. When I pulled it up, lo and behold, there was the moon, just below the horizon.
You see, I already had the information in my hands. I had as much predictive power over the rising of the moon as Pat did. But I didn’t know. I didn’t know to look. It never crossed my mind. Such a beautiful sight, and such a wonderful experience, had never crossed my mind. Romans 10 asks “How then can they call on the One in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?” (v. 14). We would not have been out there had we not been invited (and without somebody organizing Circle of Eight!). We would not have enjoyed the moonrise had Pat not invited us. This is the simple work of the evangelist. We think the truth of Jesus is common knowledge – and it is, the Bible is readily available on literally everyone’s phone. But they won’t look, they won’t know what to look up, if we don’t tell them. I was reminded of that last night.
The websites said that the moon would rise at 8:54 pm. And my Skyview app showed the moon right at the horizon. But at 8:55 we still couldn’t see the moon. Now my app showed the moon above the horizon. But we couldn’t see it. What was wrong?! The cannibals were going to eat us! Was the information wrong? How could this be? When you watch a sunset, and the sun disappears above the horizon, it is obscured by clouds hanging low on the horizon. The thing is, in the sunlight you can see the clouds, it is obvious what is happening. Not so at night. We couldn’t see the long line of clouds that draped the horizon. So we had to wait, and wait with some (now) uncertain faith that we would see it. The moon had risen, it was above the horizon, the apps had not lied. We just had to wait.
Again, this is how it is with God’s truth. It’s there. It’s happened. What God promises is true. But sometimes we don’t see it immediately. Circumstances, our own doubts, misinformation gets in the way sometimes. Think of the resurrection of Jesus. It happened. But at first nobody saw Him. That doesn’t mean He hadn’t risen. And when Thomas was told about it, he still didn’t believe, for a little while. But Jesus was there, clouds of doubt, clouds of the constraints of time and space kept many from seeing. But it still happened.
And those circumstances still keep many, even ourselves, from believing. From Romans 10, I learn that many people out there will only come to know Jesus if I tell them about it, if I point them in the right direction. But also in the life of the believer, there are blessings that take a long time to see. Last night I was reminded that they are still there. You just have to wait for the truth to rise above the doubt, I mean, the moon to rise above the clouds.
Back home now,
Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12