Searching For Hope In The Dark

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The Heart Yearns For Things Beyond Human Understanding

by Eric Elkin

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth.
— Ephesians 3:18

The other night, I woke up in the middle of the night and could not get back to sleep. Every effort to trick myself back to sleep failed, so, I started reading the news on my phone. There was a story about the northern lights being visible on this same night as far south as Madison, WI.

The article came with a map showing they would also be visible over Central Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. It stated the best time to see them was between 11 pm and 2 am in the morning. All of a sudden I wasn't so bothered by my lack of sleep. This might turn out to be a great opportunity. I got up and went into the backyard to get a view of the night sky.

It was a futile effort. Our yard is full of trees, just seeing stars is difficult. While the sky was clear, urban ground light from human activity made it impossible to see anything. Still, the air was fresh. The night was calm, and the distant sounds of owls provided a little compensation for my effort.

The northern lights painted the sky with stories we hadn’t heard of yet. We leaned back, letting the colors wash over us and paint new dreams for us to follow
— Robyn Petrik

Witnessing the Aurora Borealis on full display is one of the more spiritually powerful phenomena on earth. I was fortunate once in my youth to see the entire sky racing with these heavenly lights. It shook my body and moved me to tears. It was the first time I truly began to conceive the breadth and length and height and depth of the universe. 

The sheer power of an explosion being visible 93 million miles away from its source is beyond comprehension. Science can explain the event. A geomagnetic storm on the surface of the sun sends radiation across the galaxy. The radiation collides with charged magnetic particles in the earth’s atmosphere. Explaining is far from creating it. 

My late night walk reminded me how much I crave to see a world beyond my understanding.  It revealed how hungry my soul is for a reminder the universe is something more than fake news reports, angry social media posts, petty fighting and persistent accusations. 

The northern lights are more than a display of power, they witness to the possibility there just maybe a love beyond all understanding.

The walk also reminded me, what a limited view of the universe we possess. From earth, we see just the tiniest fraction of reality.  At the same time, the thing shielding our view of bigger things is the mundane activity of the human beings.

Reading this morning, I think about the world I cannot see. A world where truth becomes hidden by our own sense of business.  I pray for this world to be revealed to me. I pray for the ability to see what the human heart cannot conceive, a hope beyond my own imagination.

Click to read Ephesians 3:14-21

Reflection Questions:

  • What natural event speaks deepest to your soul?
  • How often are you able to witness it?
  • What meaning do you draw from it?
  • How does human activity shield you from seeing the infinite?

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