The Eclipse of Your Faith

 It seems that the process of overcoming first brings us to the verge of overthrow. It looks to all of those around, and possibly even to ourselves that we will be overthrown, BUT GOD. A passage from the Weust Translation comes to mind in relationship to this thought. Read it with me, first in the King James, then in the Weust.

  1.  Luke 22:31-32   And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
  2.  Simon, Simon, behold, Satan by asking obtained you and your fellow disciples for himself and from my power to his, in order that he may shake you in a sieve as grain is sifted, by an inward agitation, trying your faith to the verge of overthrow. But as for myself, I made petition concerning you that your faith should not be totally eclipsed. And as for you, when you have returned to your original position with respect to your faith, stabilize your brethren.
    1.  Here may well be the process in a nutshell. There are several things to be noted.
    2. (i)    Satan has to ask to try to overcome you.
    3. (ii)    You have to be taken out of realm of the power of Jesus. 
    4. (iii)    You are moved into Satan’s domain.
    5.  (iv)    You are sifted by agitation.
    6.  (v)    This agitation is not external but internal. This means it is most likely a battle in the mind and emotions. 
    7.  (vi)    This inward agitation is focused on the Word you have received. We know this because it comes to try your faith to the verge of overthrow.
    8.  (vii)    The word verge needs to be emphasized. Verge means “the extreme edge of something having defined limits, brink,”. 
    9.  (viii)    This means that by inward agitation we can be brought to the very verge of our faith being overthrown.
    10. (ix)    This is where the intercessory ministry of Jesus is evident, even when He walked the earth.  
    11.  (x)    I have made petition concerning you that your faith should not be totally eclipsed. This lets us know that faith is a shining light of some type. Why? Because it talks of it being eclipsed. An eclipse is understood in the light of either the sun or the moon. When something, in this case the inward agitation, comes in front of the shining, there is a eclipse. Often, there are different levels or dimensions of eclipses. There are partial eclipses and total eclipses. 
    12. (xi)    The assurance of the power of Jesus intercessory ministry is given here. He has prayed for us.  
    13.  (xii)    His prayer will keep our faith from being totally eclipsed.
    14. (xiii)    We will return to the original position of faith.
    15. (xiv)    We will come through that with an ability we did not have before. We will be a stabilizing influence among the brethren.
    16.  b.    With the above in mind it is important that we all understand how an eclipse functions.  In coming to some comprehension of  this, we can come to some understanding of the spiritual realities that are depicted by the events and their results.
  We have stated that in the enemy trying to eclipse our faith by an inward agitation, he is endeavoring to bring a condition in the world of our hearts so he can overcome us.

 One of the questions that came to mind when considering this was, What effect does the eclipse have on the following,

        i.    The environment
        ii.    The weather
        iii.    The animals and birds.

 Knowing each of the above will help us understand some of the things that go on within us, when our faith is being eclipsed.

            (1)    The environment     -    this includes plants, and atmosphere

      (2)    Plants    -    Because it appears to be becoming nighttime, the plants begin to close up just as if it is nighttime.
(a)    Spiritually this could represent truths that have begun to blossom in our lives.

                  (b)    The seeing of them begins to dim.
                  (c)    They seem to close  up in our lives or get smaller

     (d)    Because they depend on the sun for warmth and the process of photosynthesis, they stop producing food, or the truth that was being developed in you, stops developing, during the eclipse of your faith.
     (e)    Nighttime conditions occur. This spiritually means, that which was giving life, oxygen, seems to be giving off poison, carbon dioxide.
     (f)    At this time, if we do not watch it, the enemy will be able to cause us to let go of the very truths that are being tried.
   (3)    Atmosphere    -    In the upper atmosphere, there is a sudden rush of air as the eclipsed area cools. This causes hot air to rush into the cooled area. This will be explained when we treat the weather, but is very significant.

         (4)    The Weather

(a)    In the area of darkness caused by the eclipse, there is a cooling because of the darkness. This causes all the warm air to rush in creating currents.
(b)    The spiritual significance of this is winds of doctrine(Eph. 4) and winds of doubt  rush in when an eclipse of faith occurs.

        (5)    The animals and birds

   (a)    The day animals and birds begin to prepare as if they are going to go to sleep for the night.

               (b)    All of the day animals and birds get quiet.

   (c)    All of the voices of the day, through which God speaks, quieten down and it is possible that the voices of darkness, the night, the nocturnal animals and birds, begin to speak into our ear, trying to dissuade us from the purpose of God, concerning the Word that is being tested.
  (d)    This causes confusion because our inside, as it were, tells us that it is still daytime.
  c.    The duration of totality can be as short as a few seconds or as long as about 8 minutes, depending on the details.
        i.    Our eclipse of faith can last for a comparatively short time.
  ii.    It can last for a comparatively long time. With 8 being the number of new life I feel it suggests that if we are able to hold onto our faith in the midst of the eclipse, then, new life will be the result.
        iii.    The new life can be in the realm of faith.
  iv.    It can also be a new understanding of the truth or principle of the Word that has been tried.
  d.    Just before totality waves of shadow rushing rapidly from horizon to horizon may be visible.
        i.    One of the things call a shadow in the scriptures is death.
(1)    Could it be that we feel like waves of death are coming over us? (Job 3:5;10:21;Ps. 23:4)
  ii.    Could it be the shadow of His wings as He seemingly flies past or over us, seemingly leaving us behind?(Ps. 17:8;57:1)
        iii.    It seems like my life is flying past. (Ps. 102:11)
  e.    As the sun is close to being obscured by the moon, two things are seen.
  i.    An effect that looks like a diamond ring. I believe that, just before the seeming eclipse of our faith, it is a promise of God reminding us of our relationship with Him.
 ii.    Another affect that is seen just a little later, it seems like the moon becomes a string of pearls. This reminds us that although we may be going into suffering, prophesied by the pearls, out of it will come something of such beauty that will adorn our authority, represented by the neck.
  f.    One of the things that one man said refers to vision. Everything seemed flatter!  This relates spiritually this way. When our faith is being eclipsed, we lose perspective. Our vision loses it perception of depth and everything loses its color and everything seems gray.
  g.    One of the writers said that it looked like a storm was about to break. This shows us that fears arise concerning the future.
  h.    Another writer said, It was so beautiful and terrifying and something I was so completely at the mercy of. I literally could not tear my eyes from it.
        i.    There is an fear filling beauty in an eclipse of faith.
  ii.    It is difficult to have any other focus when an eclipse of faith is in progress.
  i.    Another said that It felt oppressive, almost as if you could not breathe. I was very scared although I knew what was happening. Not an animal nor bird stirred. I believe they, too were frightened. At end of eclipse, birds bursting into a dawn chorus, even more joyful than they do in mornings. I sighed a breath of relief and rejoiced with the birds.
        i.    Spiritual parallels in the eclipse of faith
 (1)    It is a time when we may well feel oppressed by the enemy.
            (2)    We have trouble breathing the air of the Spirit .
(3)    Fear arises, even though we understand the Word, and what is happening.
(a)    We could say that this shows the difference between the rational mind and the emotional mind.
(i)    The rational mind knows what is going on and can fully rationalize it and explain what is happening.
(ii)    The emotional mind kicks in, seemingly overriding the rational mind.
 (b)    If we, by choice, choose to go with the rational mind, even though we still feel the fear and feelings, we come through to the place the person did.
                    (i)    we still see the beauty
                    (ii)    feel the fear of all those around.

                    (iii)    feel the oppression

  (iv)    have trouble breathing the ratified air of the spirit, etc.    
(c)    That place is a place of worship. Coming all the way through the spiritual eclipse of our faith, brings great joy and rejoicing.
  j.    Recent discussions on mailing lists talk of birds seemingly stunned or confused by the eclipse. Will they be easy victims to predators? Or will the predators be still and overwhelmed also.
 i.    There is a danger or possibility, during the eclipse of faith, that those things that prey upon the child of God, will endeavor to take advantage of the situation to try to take them out.
ii.    The final word that needs to be looked at in this eclipse of faith is used in the above quote, overwhelmed.
 (1)    Often when faith is being eclipsed, we feel overwhelmed. When that is the case we need to remember that Jesus, the Intercessor is currently praying for us that the enemy not be able to keep us in his power.
                  (a)    Jesus has promised that His intercession will prevail.
(b)    He has said we will return to the original position of faith. (rest in faith)
(c)    His promise is that we will have something that will help us stabilize the brethren.
 k.    One more aspect that is apparent is; The path the eclipse travels is indicative that it is seen in all types of seasons and environment.
i.    We can have eclipses of faith in any season of our spiritual experience.
            (1)    Seedtime
            (2)    Harvest
            (3)    Summer
            (4)    Winter
 ii.    No matter what terrain we are going through, it is possible to experience eclipses of faith.
            (1)    Rain forest
            (2)    Bare rock
            (3)    Wilderness
            (4)    Farm land
            (5)    City scape
            (6)    Desert
            (7)    Heat
            (8)    Cold
            (9)    Prairies
            (10)    Mountains
            (11)    Valleys

 As we continue in the study of overcoming in the Word we find that it is relationship to taking our inheritance.