Halley’s Comet may be the most famous space apparition of its kind, but it only orbits the sun once every seventy-five years. However, twice a year, our planet passes through debris it left behind, causing bright meteor showers to be visible in our nighttime skies.
Tonight is one of those nights. The Eta Aquarids will reach their climax Monday night and in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday morning. But there are three caveats.
First, they will be much more visible in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern. Second, storms gathering over the central US will spread disruptive clouds over much of the Midwest, obscuring the night sky. Third, the last supermoon of 2020 will peak in two nights, making it difficult to seem some of the meteors.
But these facts will not change the existence of the Eta Aquarids, merely our perception of them. We may not be able to see them clearly, but our finitude does not affect their reality.
The solution, we’re told, is to give ourselves an hour to spot the meteors. Look after midnight, when the shower’s radiant point will climb above the horizon. And try to focus on the darkest part of the sky, for the meteors will be most visible there.
God ‘is there and he is not silent’
These solutions have a spiritual corollary.
Francis Schaeffer once wrote a book titled, He is There and He is Not Silent. God is speaking and working constantly in our world. But like meteors at night, we must position ourselves to receive what his grace intends to communicate.
Like meteor watchers who will spend hours after midnight focused on the darkest skies, hearing God’s voice requires time spent alone in his presence at hours and places when distractions are minimized. Our spiritual enemy will do all he can to distract us from communion with our Father. We can expect people, technology, and circumstances to intrude.
That’s why, like Jesus, we need time alone with our Lord before the day begins (Mark 1:35). Like the psalmist, we need regular appointments to meet with God through the day (Psalm 55:17). And we need to end the day with our Father (cf. Luke 6:12).
Such commitments do not earn the right to hear God’s voice—they position us to experience his grace. You had to be close enough to an electronic device to read these words. We must be close enough to a television to see its screen. An air-conditioned room does us no good in the hot summer unless we’re inside it.
In these secularized days, it can be easy to wonder if God is as real as he was in the biblical era. But neither human nor divine nature have changed. Our problem is not that he’s not present in the darkening skies. Our problem is that many do not take the time to look for him.
When next will you spend significant time alone with your Father?