Not seeing, yet believing
Did Richard Branson’s trip, Sunday, July 11, 2021, inspire you to look up again?
When’s the last time you really looked up—not 50 miles up, but at the stars?
Really Looking Up
Astronomer Kareem El-Badry created a new plot in February 2021 of more than 1 million pairs of binary stars (double stars orbiting a common center of gravity), where previous data had revealed only 200 double-star pairs.
It’s astounding to think about how many stars there are in our sky—let alone our solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, the entire universe!
We don’t think about them much because we can’t always see them. And even when they’re visible, we aren’t always paying attention. We’re too busy or too shortsighted—looking down at our phones or impatiently waiting for the lights to change.
When’s the last time you looked up at the stars?
In 2010 I visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States. The scenes were spectacular. But my favorite moment was when the ranger gave a nighttime constellation talk. It was freezing cold, but we huddled together to look up at the sky glittering with millions of twinkling stars. It was stunning.
It’s hard to believe that those stars are always there—brilliant, dynamic, burning—for often enough they’re unseen, invisible to us.
Invisible does not mean silent, still, or imaginary. We just have too much clouding or light pollution distracting our vision. In Hebrews 11, the writer describes faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1).* He goes on to describe individuals of faith who endured sacrifice and suffering because of their faith. For example: “By faith [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (verse 27).
Invisible does not mean distant, indifferent, or delusional. God is working, orchestrating, pleading for us to take the time to focus, wonder, and delight in who He is and what He does. For whether we acknowledge it or not, He is the bright Morning Star: “‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’ The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life’” (Rev. 22:16, 17).
Thousands of years ago, when the star over Bethlehem heralded a miracle, only a handful of wise men and shepherds noticed. Others were too busy or indifferent to understand its significance. What if we too are missing out on worshipping the Morning Star because we’re too busy looking lower, meeting deadlines, appointments, and people who seek our care and attention?
God invites us to look up. High up. To look at the invisible: “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19, 20). The promise of Scripture is that as we pay attention to the light already provided to us in His word, the star will once again signal that God has been made incarnate, this time in our hearts.
And as we see the invisible, He becomes visible through us so that others may also see the glory of God.
* All Bible texts are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.