A “mission to touch the sun”

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“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” (C. S. Lewis).

NASA launched a spacecraft yesterday that will get seven times closer to the sun than previous spacecraft. One NASA scientist called it a mission to “touch the sun.”

The Parker Solar Probe will cover 96 percent of the 93 million miles between us and our closest star. It will make twenty-four close approaches to the sun over the next seven years.

We’re obviously interested in the sun since life on our planet depends on it. But frankly, our sun is nothing special in the larger universe. While it would take one million Earths to fill it, the sun is just average compared to other stars in our galaxy. Betelgeuse, for instance, is about seven hundred times bigger and about 14,000 times brighter.

In total, scientists estimate that there are one billion trillion stars in the known universe. And God “gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4).

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). How is this declaration in the heavens relevant to the hard choices we must make on earth?

The true test of faith

It’s easy to obey God when we understand why we should. The test of faith comes when we are called to step beyond what we understand or even want to be true.

If you’re like most of us, you’re facing such a step today. God is asking you to do something or stop doing something, to forgive someone or to seek forgiveness, to stand courageously for his word and will in a skeptical culture, but it’s hard. If it were easy, you would already have done what he asks.

Today’s Daily Article was born in a statement I read yesterday in My Utmost for His Highest: “There are stages in life when there is no storm, no crisis, when we do our human best; it is when a crisis arises that we instantly reveal upon whom we rely.”

It is far easier to trust a doctor who prescribes aspirin than one who recommends life-threatening surgery. But an aspirin when you need surgery is not much help.

Why did God make a universe like this?

I’ve often noted that a relationship with God, like all relationships, requires a commitment that transcends the evidence and becomes self-validating. For example, we cannot know for sure that we should take a job until we take it. We can investigate the evidence, but we must take a step beyond it into a personal experience that validates (or invalidates) our decision.

So, let’s seek evidence in heaven to trust our Father on earth by exploring this question: Why did God make a universe like this?

According to two Oxford scientists, it is more likely than ever that ours is the only populated planet in the cosmos. The Colson Center’s John Stonestreet notes that such a reality points clearly to our status as creatures of a Creator. If life doesn’t “evolve” by random chance all over the universe, maybe it didn’t evolve by random chance on this planet, either.

So, let’s assume that ours is the only populated planet. Why, then, did God make such an enormous universe filled with an astounding number of stars and uninhabited planets?

Perhaps one reason was to encourage us to trust his omnipotence. If your father could build a massive mansion by himself, he could probably fix a leaky faucet.

The Creator of this incredible universe has all the power he needs to keep his promises and fulfill his purposes in our lives. When the prophet Jeremiah was struggling to understand and obey a command from God, “the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).

“Fear he is a liar”

It can be challenging to trust God in a society that is so skeptical of such faith. Our materialistic culture has replaced priests in their robes with scientists in their lab coats. We measure life by what we can measure.

But the harder it is to trust our Father, the more we need to trust our Father. When his perfect will calls us to step beyond proof into faith, we must rely even more deeply on his power and love. The alternative is to stay on the shore of certainty and never experience a life empowered by the Almighty.

What if Peter had chosen fear over faith and refused to share the gospel with the Gentile world (Acts 10)? What if Paul had chosen fear over faith and refused to share the gospel with the Western world (Acts 16)? Where would Gentile Americans like me be today?

Who is waiting to meet God on the other side of your next step of faith?

As I was considering today’s article, these words from Christian artist Zach Williams came on the radio:

Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
Cause fear he is a liar.

What fear do you need to cast in the fire today?