The Shadow is Cast

August 24, 2017 at 12:38 pm

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of His craftsmanship.”

( Psalm 19:1  LAB)

by Debbie Allen

The Dawning of Dusk in Daylight…these poetic words describe the Celestial performance of the century!  They are my own heart’s review of the Eclipse of 2017.  Truly a moving production that, for a few moments, drew the eyes of our nation heavenward, for a closer look into God’s great Theater of Grace! A periwinkle, sky doubled as a stage for what some deemed, “…an elegant dance between the sun and the moon.”

The eclipse in progress, all the preparatory chaos of anxious onlookers ceased; replaced by a unified awe, as the moment of totality (the shadow of the moon overwhelming the sun), arrived.  For a brief time, the extraordinary overwhelmed the ordinary. Dusk enveloped the daylight. Birds stopped singing and crickets began chirping. Instantly, sunny-morning temperatures dropped ten degrees.   For ninety seconds, a hushed audience shared the beauty and grandeur of this silent, yet Divine performance; most not able to articulate the unexpected emotions stirring inside of them.

A group of college students, cheering after the eclipse were asked, “Why does this moment mean so much to you?”

Shrugging his shoulders, one CU student honestly responded, “I don’t know…but, this is awesome!”

Literally hundreds across the nation, jumped before their cell phone screens to take selfies with family or friends standing in front of the eclipse.

The power of association has an irresistible pull on all of us as human beings. I believe God placed a thirst deep inside each of our spirits before we were born. It is this thirst that draws us into a much greater desire… the instinctive longing inside of us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.


“For ninety seconds, a hushed audience shared the beauty and grandeur of this silent, yet Divine performance; surprised by the unexpected emotions stirring inside of them.”


Observing people after the eclipse certainly frames this thought well.  Speechless, yet inspired, one man who was interviewed by the Denver Post put it this way.

“When totality hits you…you almost feel what the ‘ancients’ felt!”

Though this man’s statement fails to capture exactly what the ancients felt; I know of one ‘ancient’ who spilled his feelings in great detail. The Psalmist, King David.  His eyes pointed skyward, David reminds us:

 “The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship.  Day and night they keep on telling about God.  Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world!”  (Psalm 19:1-2 LAB)

Our spirits are asleep in this nation, if after looking up into the heavens, and experiencing the solar eclipse, we still fail to see anything less than “…a marvelous display of God’s craftsmanship and His Glory, silently proclaiming a message that “reaches out to all of us.” A message that can quench the thirst inside of us to be a part of something…no, Someone bigger than ourselves!  The Heart Cries of God are infused in the silences of the eclipse moment.  I could hear His Voice reminding me that,

He is the God who made the world and everything in it…the Lord of heaven and earth.  He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need.  He created all the nations throughout the whole earth.  He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall and He determined their boundaries.  His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.  For in Him we live and move and exist.”  (Acts 17:24-28 NLT)

I sensed the pressure of God’s Hand on my shoulder, compelling me to drop to my knees and pray for our nation in the midst of this eclipse. Though NASA deemed this historical event as only “a celestial coincidence”, I sensed it to be more of a celestial warning.  Even the course of its path spanned our nation from sea to shining sea; something that hasn’t occurred in over a hundred years.  As I witnessed the moon’s shadow crossing over the face of the sun, it made me think of another kind of shadow that’s crossing over our land.  The shadow of sin.  This darkness is slowly covering the Face of God…the Light upon Whose promises our nation was founded.  If this Divine Eclipse ever occurs, we will experience darkness like we’ve never known here in America before. When I consider how many immediate changes occurred in our surroundings during the ninety seconds of the celestial eclipse, I can’t imagine the catastrophic changes that will take place if the Light of our nation ever becomes totally eclipsed by the shadow of sin’s deep darkness.


“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him.  For in Him we live and move and exist.”  (Acts 17:28)


      Long after watching the eclipse, my mind’s eye kept envisioning the moon’s shadow making its way across the face of the sun.  Though a beautiful image to ponder, it also brought to mind the eerie words of Chuck Colson, from his book, “Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages; published in 1991. Colson wrote this:

“Dark Age” is a strong term. I recognize that.  Yet, in recent years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon…The forecast is foreboding…We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away.  Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates. The times seem to smell of sunset.  Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land…We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”


“The times seem to smell of sunset.  Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land…We do face a crisis in Western culture…”

—Chuck Colson—


So, my question is this. What are you going to do with the memory of the Eclipse of 2017?    Will you choose to view it through the world’s knowledge and the eyes of NASA, accepting it only as a celestial coincidence; or will you take a seat in God’s Theater of Grace, thrusting your eyes heavenward so your heart may perceive the silent message that’s on display there?  The eclipse is God’s Glory on display over our nation.  A Celestial Warning that brings with it a story of Light and darkness.  But, notice this.  In the end… the Light wins!

This can be our nation’s story, but right now, we live in a land filled with impinging shadows; a nation largely ruled by darkness and the knowledge of man…not the Wisdom of God.  The choices we make as individuals and as a nation will make or break us in God’s Eyes.  His desire for our nation is that “we would seek after Him… find Him,” and realize that the freedom, peace, and hope…the life we’re all seeking, can only be found in God.

As we all endeavor to play-out our roles in our Nation’s story of Light and darkness; may our hearts be flooded with the same passion that filled the heart of the ‘ancient,’ King David.  God looked upon David as a man after His own Heart.   King David trusted in God more than in human power.  David’s prayer for victory in the darkness of battle was always this:

“Some nations boast of power and weaponry, but our boast is in the Lord God.  Those nations will collapse and perish; we will arise to stand firm and sure!”  (Psalm 20:7)

And just like the Total Eclipse of 2017…there’s a night and day difference in the outcome.


What are you going to do with  the “Total Eclipse 2017” experience?

Will you file it away in your memories under the heading, “NASA: celestial coincidence”?

Or will you take your place in God’s great Theater of Grace and see this Divine dance between the sun

and the moon as  a Celestial Warning to our Nation?

PRAYER:  Father God, Forgive us…forgive our nation for trusting in our power, wealth, technology and man’s knowledge more than we trust in You. This Story of Light and Darkness has eternal significance for us as individuals and as a nation.  Supply us with Your Wisdom and Perspective so we may  see the darkness surrounding us for what it is. Defiance of the God upon Whose Light our great Nation was founded.May we be found faithful in the days ahead as we take David’s prayer for our own:  “Some nations boast of power and weaponry, but our boast is in the Lord God!”  Enable us to rise and stand firm and sure in Jesus Name!”





“Chair-iot Afire”

August 15, 2017 at 12:40 pm

“And now…just as you trusted Christ to save you,

trust Him, too, for each day’s problems;

 live in vital union with Him. 

 (Colossians 2:6  NLT)

by Debbie Allen

      Do you remember the captivating, opening scene from the classic movie, Chariots of Fire? Beautiful, synthesized, music pulses to the rhythmic, running of barefoot athletes coursing through the gray sands of a British beach. Mud-splattered, a team of college runners makes their way in and out of the receding beach waters. Every athlete’s face reflects the competitive spirit goading him from deep within; urging him on with every stride.  Their grimacing expressions alert us to the level of intensity with which they’ve chosen to run their race!  Typically, most run to win; to gain both the prize and the victor’s applause at the finish line. But, there is one athlete among them who runs with the greatest of all motivations. Eric Liddell, 1924 winner of an Olympic Gold Medal (in the movie Chariots of Fire), runs for the sheer joy of it. He runs “…to delight his God.”

When I was a little girl, I can remember having a pressing desire to please.  Please my family…please my friends…please my teachers, and, yes… even to leave a smile on God’s Face at the end of the day. Because of this boundless childhood aim, I discovered early in life that pleasing hearts also brought joy to my own heart. This was especially true concerning the Heart of God.  I enjoyed feeling the warmth of God’s Smile radiating down upon me. In my little-girl mind, I already had life all figured out. Delight God’s Heart and live joyfully ever after.

Though there is a measure of truth in this childhood proverb, as I grew to adulthood, I found my level of trying to leave a smile on God’s Face was sometimes dictated by the difficulty surrounding my circumstances.  The desire was still there, but fear and doubt often stood between desire and difficulty. Eric Liddell ran every one of his races with passion, consumed by the fire within him to delight the heart of God. But, what happens to such passion in your real life when God enters you in a race you never wanted to run in?______________________________________________________________________________________________

“Eric Liddell ran every race with passion, consumed by the fire within him to ‘Delight the Heart of God’.”


Recently, I found myself running in just such a race.  I underwent eye surgery for an extreme, retinal detachment in my right eye.  Nothing could’ve prepared me for my life, post-surgery. My head and eyes had to be at a ninety-degree angle to the floor; whether I was walking, sitting, or laying.  Face-down was my story for the first two l-o-n-g weeks of a several-month recovery. Knowing God signed me up for this event, it shouldn’t have surprised me that He also provided a way for me to run in this race. No…not a new pair of Nike running shoes!

Early, the morning after eye surgery, FedEx delivered a giant box to my door.  In it was the chair from which I would be running this race.  That’s right…a chair I believe was of God’s own choosing.  You see, in order to sit in it, you had to be on your knees!  Technology designed this chair with the face-down survival of recuperating eye patients in mind.  God used the design of this chair to remind me, what life really looks like, on my knees and face-down before Him every day.

Every day I straddled that chair, I saw life from a whole different perspective.  Because my head was bowed low, the unwiped counters and dishes stacked in the sink were no longer a source of irritation. Unannounced visitors became more to me than the extra dirt tracking in, or shoes piling up in my entryway.  No longer did I perceive unexpected phone calls or text messages as an inconvenience, pulling me away from my own important busy-ness.   From my face-down vantage point, all I could really see were hands and feet, but that was enough.  Though my sight was less than it ever had been, God was increasing my vision. Between the rest He was giving me, and the race He’d set before me, His Heart was teaching mine things I’d lost sight of in the midst of my own agendas. The Whispers of His Grace flowed deep into the hollowed-out places of my soul, reminding me,

“My Child…the people standing on your doorstep that you often label an inconvenience; are the hearts and souls My Son gave His Life for, to see them standing on My Doorstep.”

Had I not already been in my chair and on my knees, bowed before Him; the beauty of these words was enough to drive me there. It is a humbling thing to see even a little corner of your own world through the lens of God’s Perspective. Though it’s weighty, it’s oh, so worthy!


 “My Child, the people standing on your doorstep, you often label an inconvenience; are the hearts and souls My Son gave His Life for… to see them standing on My Doorstep.”


Following those beautiful Whispers, I began seeing the hands and feet on my doorstep as the hands and feet of Jesus, faithfully caring for me in my weakness.  I witnessed God’s generosity through family, friends, and total strangers that showered my husband and I with prayers, meals, Starbucks coffees, gifts, and get-well cards, even before a need was spoken aloud.  In the course of those two weeks, I began hearing God’s Love in the laughter,concern and conversation of those who took time to visit with me. I felt His Healing Touches every time my dear Husband kissed the top of my head, massaged my strained neck and shoulders, or removed my eye patch to put drops in the corner of a crusty, swollen eyeball.  Phone calls and texts from loved ones became God’s gentle reminders to my weary heart of how very much I am loved, and that I was not forgotten.

Enduring an unexpected race in a face-down chair I came to know as my Chair-iot Afire; allowed God to set my heart ablaze with a renewed passion to run races in the spiritual world, like Eric Liddell ran his races in the physical world. Eric’s passion to run fueled him with joy so deeply rooted in God that “delighting his God”, became his reason for reaching the finish line at every race.  You can bet God was smiling down on Eric at the end of every race he ran.

Though I am still unable to see the finish line in my own race, I will be forever grateful to God, for the time He’s given me on my knees, head bowed before Him.  The days I spent surrendered in my Chair-iot Afire, taught me volumes. My little-girl thinking was never meant to rule in my big-girl heart;and neither were doubt and fear.  Though pleasing God remains the highest desire of my heart, at the end of the day, I understand now in a much deeper way that true joy comes to us only at great cost.

Life is filled with unexpected difficulties.  We will  encounter fear and doubt. But, may we faithfully choose to run the difficult races God asks us to run; letting the grimacing expressions on our face become, instead, the triumphant indicators to a watching world, of the level of intensity we have chosen to run our race.  My prayer for each of us is that we choose to run our life’s races, consumed by an ever-growing passion inside of us to “delight our God” right up to the moment we cross the finish line.  And at the end of the day, when our hearts sense the radiant warmth of God smiling down upon us, remember this:

“Our Good God gives us Joy to warm our hearts; not in spite of the difficulties we encounter … but, because of the difficulties we face.”


Have you ever considered what expression God might be wearing at the end of the day, when He looks down upon you ?

Are you running in one of life’s unexpected races right now? What drives your heart to the finish line?

Getting all you thought you really wanted…the victor’s applause?  Or getting all you really ever needed…God’s Smile?

The greatest prize…or the Greatest Reward?

PRAYER:  Dearest Father, You are a Good God, and a Loving Father.  As we run the races You set before us, may we do so with the greatest motivation of all…to ‘Delight the Heart of God!”  Strengthen us.  Increase our vision and set our hearts ablaze with passion enough to reach our finish lines, and step into the warmth of Your Smile, shining down upon us at day’s end!  Amen