You know that expression ‘you can’t see the wood for the trees?’ Well, when I walked home the other night I came up with my own idiom (sort of).
‘You can’t see the stars for the street lights’
Laugh if you will. I suppose it does not make much sense right now. Nonetheless, if you try and see the stars in a well-lit area you will be disappointed. The light from the street lamps tends to make this difficult. We value the street lights in the city because they light up the way; they provide a sense of safety, reassurance and comfort.
Now imagine if you were in the middle of nowhere. The night has come upon you and you are standing in the middle of a field. Hearing the whisper of the breeze through some trees nearby is the only sound you can make out. Looking up into the night sky you are surrounded by billions of stars and a beckoning, bright moon. It provides a light in the night and brings a sense of wonder and joy when you gaze at them.
Both sources of light in each situation have a similar purpose. They provide light. However, when we are walking along that street at night, we miss out on the sense of wonder and joy that the moon and the stars provide. It is a poor substitute when you think about it. The street lights are so bright that they appear to dim those bright, dazzling stars flung into space.
Have the stars really dimmed? Or is it just our perspective?
The stars are just the same. They are just as bright and radiant with the street lights on or off. But the street lamps give an artificial light. It is temporary. They sense when it is day time again and then turn off.
Not so for the stars.
The stars have no sensors. They are always there, whether we like it or not. We cannot make the moon or the stars go away. Their light is always shining in some part of the world.
This is the same with Jesus. We can substitute Him with other sources of light that temporarily give us a sense of direction or purpose. But without acknowledging the true Source of Light – the Light of the World – we are chasing after dim dreams, darkened directions, temporary trails.
Whether we like it or not, whether we accept Him or not, whether we replace Him with every temporary and artificial thing going, God will not go away. Like the moon and the stars, God is always there. Even in the darkest nights where there looks to be no hope, or on a cloudy day when the sun is behind the clouds, God does not ‘switch off’ like a street light sensor. His light shines through.
As we are so used to being guided by artificial light in the street, perhaps we are also used to trusting artificial ideas of who God is.
Alister McGrath states that:
“Many of those who think that they are dissatisfied with Christianity are really dissatisfied with… their own grasp of Christianity.”
Maybe we have been staring too long at the false light, whilst completely missing the wonder and joy found in Jesus Christ’s victory for us all – He is like the moon that breaks through every cloud and penetrates the darkest night.
At a time when people are disputing whether Jesus was an alien, I cannot help but feel the artificial light has filled the eyes of many. Although others may think it is Christians who are deluded and blinded by a fairy-tale, I would ask them to join me and go out and gaze upon the vast expanse of the night sky. Nothing that man creates will ever compare to the wonder and joy found by the limitless possibilities of a universe filled with galaxies beyond our wildest dreams.
Perhaps when we are pondering that thought, we should consider our life, the lives of our friends and families and the creation that we see around us.
We can reason. We can think. We can apply logic. We can do so much. We have done so much. We will do much more.
But when it comes to faith, can we believe? Can we trust that the moon and the stars are still there when we do not see them? I am guessing so. Is that because there is proof that they are still there when we do not see them? In the same way, there is proof that God is with us today. The promises in God’s Word have stood the test of time. His church is growing, even if it looks stagnant in some parts of the UK.
If you are struggling to trust and know Jesus as Saviour right now, have some faith in Christians and their testimonies that have gone before you. This same God that has worked in the hearts of others is alive and active today. Even in the poorest, war torn countries. Often in the places that appear to have the worst suffering, faith abounds.
Examine the evidence. I am sure you may have considered (with some sort of confidence) a list of reasons for not believing in God, Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection and the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers all across the world, both past and present.
Now look past the street lights and examine the stars. Seek. Ask. Knock. The door will be opened to you. You will not be turned away or ‘switched off’ like the street light. Just like the stars, God will not go away. The death and resurrection of Christ will not go away. Your life has a purpose far beyond any galaxy. You can have wonder and joy that is found in the hope and love of Jesus.
Linking up with Kelly Balarie and others at Purposeful Faith #RaRaLinkup